Billy Collins Quotes

Enjoy the top 207 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Billy Collins.

Billy Collins Quotes

One of the ridiculous aspects of being a poet is the huge gulf between how seriously we take ourselves and how generally we are ignored by everybody else.
— Billy Collins —

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.

— Billy Collins

O Canada I have not forgotten you,
as I kneel in my canoe, beholding this vision
of a bookcase.
You are the paddle, the snowshoe, the cabin in the pines.
You are the moose in the clearing and the moosehead on
the wall.
You are the rapids, the propeller, the kerosene lamp.
You are the dust that coats the roadside berries.
But not only that,
you are the two boys with pails walking along that road.

— Billy Collins

There are easier ways of making sense,
the connoisseurship of gesture, for example.
You hold a girl's face in your hands like a vase.
You lift a gun from the glove compartment
and toss it out the window into the desert heat.

— Billy Collins

The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you're simply using a pen to record what you have thought out.

— Billy Collins

I'm a great believer in poetry out of the classroom, in public places, on subways, trains, on cocktail napkins. I'd rather have my poems on the subway than around the seminar table at an MFA program.

— Billy Collins

My persona is less miserable than a lot of contemporary poetry speakers are.

— Billy Collins

When I became poet laureate, I was in a slightly uncomfortable position because I think a lot of poetry isn't worth reading.

— Billy Collins

Emily Dickinson seems rather tame because she pretty much uses the same meter every time. It's called 'common meter.' It's a line of four beats that's followed by a line of three beats.

— Billy Collins

I don't think I've ever written a poem whose intention was just to be funny. I've written poems that start out funny and often shift into something more serious.

— Billy Collins

I find a lot of poetry very disappointing, but I do have poets that I go back to. One book of poetry that I'd like to mention is 'The Exchange' by Sophie Cabot Black. Her poems are difficult without being too difficult.

— Billy Collins

I have a stack of those plastic card hotel room keys that I picked up on this latest book tour. It's about a yard tall. Ah yes, a stack of lonely nights.

— Billy Collins

I really have a distaste for poets who announce themselves at 50 yards; you know, here he comes, you know, with the beret and the cane and the cape and the whatever - whatever mishegas is part of the outfit there.

— Billy Collins

I was influenced by the Beats because I actually just began to commit adolescence around 1955, when "Howl" and Rebel Without a Cause and a lot of other new things were popping up. (Again I'm trying to give you a finite version of this career.) And then I came under the sway of Wallace Stevens when I was in college and graduate school, and basically set as a life goal the ambition of writing third-rate Wallace Stevens. I thought I would be completely content if I was recognized at some later point in my life as a third-rate Wallace Stevens.

— Billy Collins

When I began to dare to be clear, because I think clarity is the real risk in poetry because you are exposed. You're out in the open field. You're actually saying things that are comprehensible, and it's easy to criticize something you can understand.

— Billy Collins

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