April is poetry month, and so this week will feature five favorite poets. If you have a chance this April, find a poem and read it out loud. Or, better yet, memorize a poem just for fun. Be sure to check out the poetry display at the Williamsburg Library or see our poetry display on the library website.
Billy Collins may be one of the most accessible poets writing today. During his time as Poet Laureate of the U.S. (2001-2003), Collins instituted programs that seek to make poetry less of a point of study and more a part of daily life. He continues to promote the value of poetry in his writing, his teaching, and his public speaking.
Collins’ poems rarely run longer than a page or so. He writes about ordinary things that he sees in the world around him–the weather, birds, a farm worker with a scythe. But he moves easily and fluidly from these everyday people and objects to open the reader’s eye to a larger world. This is what poetry is supposed to do, comment on and expand our lives in some way. Collins is sometimes criticized as being a writer of “light verse,” but I think that this criticism is a sign of what keeps so many people from enjoying poems. Poetry does not need to be willfully obscure to be considered good. While reading more difficult or challenging poets is interesting and a good thing sometimes, it is also good to have poets who write as we speak, and who, through their poems, show us new ways to look at and to enjoy our daily world.
Check the WRL catalog for The Trouble With Poetry