Picnic, lightning

Billy Collins

Book - 1998

Presents a collection of poems that explores the minutiae of life.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 811.54/Collins Checked In
Pitt poetry series.
[Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania] : University of Pittsburgh Press [1998]
Physical Description
103 pages ; 21 cm
Also issued online
Place of Publication
United States -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
Main Author
Billy Collins (author)
  • Portrait of the reader with a bowl of cereal
  • Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
  • To a stranger born in some distant country hundreds of years from now
  • I chop some parsley while listening to Art Blakey's version of "Three blind mice"
  • Afternoon with Irish cows
  • Marginalia
  • What I learned today
  • Journal
  • Some days
  • Silence
  • Picnic, lightning
  • In the room of a thousand miles
  • Morning
  • Bonsai
  • Splitting wood
  • Shoveling snow with Buddha
  • I go back to the house for a book
  • After the storm
  • Snow
  • Moon
  • Looking West
  • This much I do remember
  • Japan
  • Victoria's Secret
  • Musée des beaux art revisited
  • Lines composed over three thousand miles from Tintern Abbey
  • Paradelle for Susan
  • Duck/rabbit
  • Egypt
  • Home again
  • Lines lost among trees
  • Many faces of jazz
  • Taking off Emily Dickinson's clothes
  • Night house
  • Death of the hat
  • List of ancient pastimes
  • Passengers
  • Serpentine
  • Reincarnation and you
  • Jazz and nature
  • And his sextet
  • Where I live
  • My life
  • Aristotle.
Review by Booklist Review

The easy swing of Collins' lines reflects his love of jazz and his ready response to beauty; the warmth of his voice emanates from his instinct for pleasure and his propensity toward humor. The title poem, for instance, is an improvisation on a terse description of a fatal freak accident in Nabokov's Lolita in which Collins, ever on the lookout for that old silver lining, or the happy bafflement of a koan, turns his contemplation of "the instant hand of Death / always ready to burst forth" into a subtle celebration of life. It's all in the mind, he implies, writing most ebulliently and perceptively about the realm of the imagination: an evening spent reading the F section of a single-volume encyclopedia becomes the catalyst for a hilarious sequence of thoughts, and a tour through the candy-smooth pages of a Victoria's Secret catalog evolves into a performance of great wit and sweet self-mockery. Collins is jazzman and Buddhist, charmer and prince. --Donna Seaman

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The sixth book of poems by the Lehman College professor has the same carefree, if not careless, sensibility of his earlier work. His catalogues of everyday moments-a jazz riff heard, a book passage remembered, a bird contemplated-aspire to a Frank O'Hara-like chattiness. But Collins (in poems such as ""I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakely's Version of 'Three Blind Mice' "") lacks that great cosmopolitan's jaunty bop and charm. Collins's semirural musings rely on mundane imagery (night is ""black and silky""; the woods are ""dense green"") and his regular-guy, Buddhist-joker pose-which can be funny, though he's never particularly witty or ironic. These forty-odd poems that celebrate the ephemeral seem, appropriately, dashed-off and therefore forgettable. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.