Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry [Paperback ed.] 0812968875, 9780812968873

A dazzling new anthology of 180 contemporary poems, selected and introduced by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

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English Pages 352 [356] Year 2003

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Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry [Paperback ed.]
 0812968875, 9780812968873

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poetry

A

TURNING BACK

AN ANTHOLOGY OF

TO

POETRY

CONTEMPORARY POEMS

SELECTED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

BILLY COLLINS Poet Laureate of the United States

ABOUT THE EDITOR

billy COLLINS

is

the author of seven

collections of poetry, including Nine Horses; Sailing Alone Around the Room; Questions

About Angels-, The Art

of Drowning;

and Picnic,

Lightning.

He is a Distinguished

English

Lehman College

of the City

New York.

is

at

University of

Collins

Laureate of the United States.

Professor of

the Poet

Random House Tra&e Paperbacks New

York

poetry

TURN

N

C

A C

18 o K

T

O

POETRY

Selected and with an Introduction by

Billy

Collins

A

RANDOM HOUSE TRADE PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

Copyright

© ?oo3 by Billy Collins

All rights reserved

under International and

Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published United States by a division of

Random House Trade

Random House,

simultaneously in Canada by

Inc.,

in the

Paperbacks,

New York, and

Random House

of

Canada Limited, Toronto.

RANDOM HOUSE TRADE PAPERBACKS are registered trademarks of

Owing to

Random House,

and colophon Inc.

limitations of space, permission acknowledgments

begin on page 3i3.

LIBRARY OF CONCRESS CATALOGING- IN - PUBLICATION DATA Poetry 180: a turning back to poetry/ selected and with an introduction by Billy Collins.

cm.

p.

i

Includes index.

ISBN 0-8129-6887-5 I.

American poetry— 21st century.

hundred PS615 81

1'.

eighty.

II.

I.

Title:

Poetry

One

Collins, Billy.

P6245 2003

608— dcai

2002036949

Random House website address: www.atrandom.com Printed in the United States of America

6897 Book design by Barbara M. Bachman

contents

Introduction by Billy Collins

Introduction to Poetry Selecting a Reader

|

001

002

I



Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad |

005

j

006

Acting

3

Ted Kooser

4

*

Jan Heller Levi

5



Dorianne Laux

6

004

Singing Back the World

The Pink Car

Billy Collins

003

|

xv

Mark Halliday



8

Suzanne Cleary

*

10

I

The Cord

007

|

Leanne O'Sullivan



Ode: The Capris

My Son

Bringing

009

|

*

Shoshauna Shy

the Death of a Colleague

The Space Heater

Numbers Lines

012

|

013

|

|

|

for Salt

The Hand

Where

I

|

010



|

017

015

Sharon Olds

Collins

016 •

Was 018 |

*



V.

21

23

26

Quintana

Mary Ruefle •

19

25

Mark Jarman

Leroy

17

Stephen Dunn

Mary Cornish

*

Unholy Sonnets

Poem



|

Miller Williams

014

Listen

011

j

Martha



14

to the Police Station to Be

Fingerprinted

On

Mark Halliday

008

|

12

Dan Brown

27

28

29 30

CONTENTS

I

vii

hoop snake

Rebecca Wee

019

|

My

Bestiary for the Fingers of

32

Hand

Right

|

ofco

Charles Simic

The Summer Did

Was

I

Sixteen

Miss Anything?

I

Song of Smoke

|

White Towels

026

To You I

Raining

as a Dog)

|

|

027

|

028

029

Father |

Alzheimer's |

David Kirby



Carol

»

49

030

in L.A. |

*

Larry Levis

Li-Young Lee

54

032

Bob Hicok

55

033

Marianne Boruch



Ronald Koertge



A Poetry Reading

at

West Point

|

035

«

58

My Deaths 036 037

|

Love Poem 1990

|

038

Passer-by, these are

Rain |

040

041

«

Dean Young

60

Cornelius Eady

6i

*

|

I'm a Fool to Love You

|



*



Peter Meinke

words

.

.

. |

039

|

042

Ceorge Bradley

i

i

Yves Bonnefoy

«

65

66

Jim Daniels

68

Yannis Ritsos

At the Other End of the Telescope

i



63

Naomi Shihab Nye

A Myopic Child

v

56 57

William Matthews

Wheels

53

031

034

Only One of

44

46

Ann Duffy

I

|

43

Richard Brautigan

The Book of Hand Shadows Sidekicks

42

(Excusez-Moi, je Suis Sick

The Oldest Living Thing Little

37

41

Richard Jones



36

39

C. E. Patterson



*

Love

Kills

Mrs Midas

Tom Wayman

Kenneth Koch

*

in

Moderation

Geraldine Connolly

*

Kevin Young

024

025

|

021

|

022

|

023

|

Autobiographia

It's

34

|

043

69 •

70

praise song

044

|

The Man

Whose

into

Ball I

045

The Farewell |

The

Lucille Clifton

»

Yard You Should Not Hit Your

Thomas Lux



046

Field

047

|

for Adlai

74

Edward

*

Partial Explanation

Poem

73

76

Charles Simic



Stevenson and Yellow jackets

77

048

|



David Young

78

The Late Passenger

049

|

On

C. S.

Lewis

80

372 Oz. Lesser Yellowlegs, Departed Boston

a

August

28, Shot Martinique

September

3

|

050



Eamon Crennan Tour

051

I

After

Us

Poetry |

|

052

053



The Fathers j



83

Snow

Carol



Connie Wanek

Bell |

056

85

Don Paterson 054



87

Elizabeth Holmes



The High School Band The

84

055

|

88

Reed Whittemore

*

89

Richard Jones

90

Dearborn North Apartments Chicago,

Illinois |

057



Lola Haskins

91

Gouge, Adze, Rasp,

Hammer

The Bruise of This

059

|

*

060

1-800-HOT-RIBS

Chris Forhan

058

|

Mark Wunderlich

94

Bowman

95

Catherine

I

The

Printer's Error

|

Cartoon Physics, part

1

Advice from the Experts

She Didn't Mean

Snow 065

to

Aaron Fogel

061

Do

062

|

|

063



|

97

Nick Flynn

101

Knott

103

Daisy Fried

104

Bill

*

064

It

92



David Berman

105

I

Six I

One-Line Film Scripts

Finally

Managed

to

|

066

*

Speak to Her

Tom Andrews |

067

107

Hal Sirowitz

108

CONTENTS

Before She Died the Well

In

\

068

|

069

The Sonogram Love Like Salt

Lisel

*

no

»

Paul Muldoon



071

|

109

Andrew Hudginst

1

070

|

Karen Chase

«

111

Mueller

112

Through the Window of the Ail-Night Restaurant

072

|

Nicholas Christopher



113

The Assassination of John Lennon as Depicted by the

Madame Tussaud Wax Museum, Ontario, 1987

074

Barbie's Ferrari |

A Romance

073

|



115

McMahon

116

Wild Turkey

for the

|

Ye White Antarctic Birds |

Grammar

|

081

|

|



Paul

Zimmer

Lisa Jarnot

119

Calway Kinnell

120 121

079

Robert Hedin

122

or

080

Why

Did the Baguette Cross

Robert Hershon



123

Tony Hoagland



118

Wesley McNair

Moment

the Road?



075

078

|

The Old Liberators Sentimental



|

Animals

Killing the

076

Sow 077

Francis and the

St.

Falls,

David Wojahn

Lynne



Niagara

124

Plague Victims Catapulted over Walls into

Besieged City In

082

|

Tornado Weather |

The Portuguese

No

Return |

Otherwise

|

|

088

*

Happy Marriage |

At Navajo

X

|

084

*

126

Ceorge Creen

127

129

Robert Phillips

130

Benjamin Saltman

132

Jane Kenyon

133

089

Monument

Sherman

Judith Kerman



Mergui

086

087

|

083

125

William Matthews

085

The Panic Bird A Hunger

in

Thomas Lux



Alexie



Taslima Nasrin

Valley Tribal School

134

|

090



136

Hamlet Off-Stage: Laertes Cool

092

Lesson |

Football

093

I

Not

Fat Is

Forrest

*

|

095

|

The Bagel

-

096

|

Homer

094

139

140

Jane Yolen



141

142

David Ignatow

143



Adam ZagaJewski

*

|

Cup

a Sippy

|

144

Jenny Factor

098

Women 099

Watching the Mayan

145

Luisa Villani

|

Queen Herod Video Blues

Smoking

|

Men

Old

too

|

102

Playing Basketball

I

107

Life |

|

no

no. 6

111

106

108

|

Message: Bottle #32 I

156



David Clewell

158

Edward Nobles



109

|

159



161

Allyn Rosser

J.

162

Robin Robertson



163

Charles Bukowski



164

I

Mohammed

Small Comfort Skin I

115



|

Zeid,

114

I

Would Do

|

119

15

Katha

|

113

|

112 •



David Lee

Naomi Shihab Nye

Pollitt

Lucia Perillo

The Meadow Rotary

Age

*

Telephone Repairman

What

Robert Bly

154

157

Tuesday Morning, Loading Pigs For



H. Fairchild

Joe Wenderoth

*

Nuclear Winter

Waves

104

I

B.



David Lehman



Vegetarian Physics

My

153

103

|

105

11

152

Elton Closer



146 148

Mary Jo Salter

Gratitude to Old Teachers

June

Ann Duffy

Carol

*

101

|

138

Frances Mayes

On Swimming 097 Song Beside

D. C. Berry



Louis Jenkins

'

a Fairy Tale

Sister Cat

091

|

118

|

117 *

|

168 170 171

116 *

166



Joseph Millar

Marc Petersen

Kate Knapp Johnson

173 175

177

I

*

Christina Pugh

178

CONTENTS

Sax's and Selves

Mark Halliday

120

|

Black Leather Because Bumblebees L«ok

181 Like* It

|

121

Diane Wakoski

Beyond

Recall

183

122

|

Sharon Bryan

*

Song

Alley Cat Love

123

|

Goodbye

Old

to the

125

|

Fair

|

126

Charles Simic



127

|

Day

On Not

128

|

Flying to Hawaii

My

129

|

The Poem of Chalk Father's Hats

130

|



131



Marie Howe

187

188 191

195

196

Alison Luterman

Philip Levine

*

185

194

Paschen

Elise



John Hollander



Part of Eve's Discussion Birth

Wesley McNair

124

Life

For "Fiddle-De-De"

Dana Cioia



|

Country

«

197

199

Mark Irwin

202

Norman Dubie

203

*

|

Of Politics &

Art

Loud Music

133

|

Elevator Music





Stephen Dobyns

205

Henry Taylor

207

134

|

A Wreath

132

|



to the Fish

ballplayer

136

|

Nancy Willard

135

|

Evie Shockley



The Green One over There

May I

The Quest |

Materia

for

Worry

140

of BIC Pens

The Other World |

143

The Grammar Lesson Fast Break |

145



|

at

i

i

*

Steve Kowit

Edward Hirsch

the Canal |

x

David Hilton

Robert Wrigley

144

The Invention of Heaven Saturday

Timothy Russell

142

|

217

Li-Young Lee

»

212 215

*

141

|

In Praise

Katia Kapovich



Sharon Olds

139 |

Words

210

Bruce Weigl

138

In Simili

137

|

208

|

147

146 *

«

Dean Young

Gary Soto

219

220 221

223 225

226 228

229

Doing Without

David Ray

148

|

The Death of Santa Claus |

Ladies and Gentlemen

in

230

Charles Webb

149

Outer Space |

231

150

Ron Padgett Thanksgiving

233

151

Mac Hammond



|

Dog's Death |

Hound Song

I

152

1

153



John Updike

235

Donald Finkel

236

A Metaphor Crosses the Road |

The Swan

Edgewater Park

at

Where

156

|

She?

Is

Coffee

|

One Morning Animals

|

160

Me

to

The Perfect Heart The Birthday |

Not Swans |

I

Wish

in

*

241

Alberto Rios

242 243

164

244

Haught

245

Shara McCallum

246

Morgan

Elizabeth Seydel



247

Susan Ludvigson



the City of Your Heart

Robley Wilson

165

249 250

William Matthews

167

I

|

248

William Matthews

166

|

The Wolf of Cubbio th

239

Kaylin

161

|

162

|

163

The Accompanist

49

158

Birthday Trip (What Are You On?)

|

168

252

.

Samuel Menashe

How Many Times

I

The Dead

|

171

Social Security



The Student Theme Smell and Envy

|

Marie Howe 170

Peter Cooley

Terence Winch



|

174

255 '

256

I

Susan Mitchell 172

|

254

169

The History of Poetry

237

238

Miller Williams



Cod Says Yes

Schwartz

Eamon Crennan

159

|

L.

Peter Cherches



the Afternoon

in

Ruth

Phillis Levin

*

157

|

Martha McFerren

154

155

|

The Blizzard

234

173 *

*

Ronald Wallace

Douglas Coetsch

258

259 261

262

CONTENTS

I

xiii

The Yawn

|

175

Blue Willow



Paul Blackburn

Jody Cladding

176

I

Tuesday 9:00

AM

Ordinance on

Arrival

177

|

|

96 Vandam

|

179

What He Thought

178



Naomi Lazard

Ceroid Stern



|

180



309

Permission Credits

i

v

305

313

*

264 265

267

268

Heather McHugh

Index of Contributors

x

f

Denver Butson



Notes on the Contributors

Index of Titles

263

273

269

!80:

poetry

AN INTRODUCTION Billy Collins

FEW YEARS AGO

I

FOUND MYSELF ON A CIRCUIT OF

readings, traveling around the Midwest

podium. One stop was Chicago. Despite

its

at

from podium

to

an enormous high school south of

daunting size— picture a row of lockers

receding into infinity— the school holds a "Poetry Day" every year featuring an exuberant range of

poems

set to

activities,

including

music by students and performed by the high

school chorus and a ninety-piece orchestra. As featured poet that year, day,

I

found myself caught up in the high

which seemed

to

be coming

directly

spirits of the

from the students

themselves, rather than being faculty- imposed. After reading to a crowded auditorium,

I

was approached by

who presented me with a copy of the

a student

school newspaper con-

taining an article she had written about poetry. In that article,

I

found a memorable summary of the discomfort so

many people seem

to experience with poetry.

"Whenever

INTRODUCTION

I

modern

read a

poem.*" this teenage girl wrote,

"it's like

my

brother has his foot on the back of*ny ne