Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Billy Collins, 2018

The seats in the middle were reserved for major donors.  The seats on the sides were available.  I took the first row, center aisle seat, and watched as Susannah, Billy Collins's wife, followed the escorts and her husband into the room.

He went toward the stage.  She came toward me.  I stood up, saying her name, extending my hand, apologizing for remembering her when I was certain she didn't remember meeting me, 7 years ago, at the Arizona Inn......

"I do remember.... your name is Sue.... right?  You were wearing one beautiful boot...."

and then we hugged.  We remembered a little bit more,, and then she hugged me again.  I took my seat again, reeling from the glow.

Billy Collins took the stage for a reading, telling us that we experience poetry viscerally, we see it, hear it, feel it touch it...and I found myself caressing the pages of his poetry as I read along with him.

He read The Lanyard, and I spent a misty moment or two missing G'ma.  He read Carry and there was a hushed silence at the end.  He read Forgetfulness to rueful laughter.

He's the most accessible of poets; he makes certain that he is taking his audience along with him.  He defined snood and mulishness and revenant before reading the poems in which they figured.  In describing the backdrop to the poem Tennessee Fainting Goats, he told us that they live up to all three parts of their name.  

He's funny and he's real and he's older than Cheerios.  He remembered me too, when I spoke to him at the Book Signing Table.  We talked about Days, the poem he read for me all those years ago.  We talked about Gabby and Mark.

He's a part of my life, whether he knows it or not, and either is fine with me.  After all, he defined his poems as a mixture of clarity and mystery.....much like life, I think.



    1. He said he missed you then and missed you now! Next time, with you. I promise.

  2. I looked him up. He'll be 77 in two days. Didn't realize Cheerios were that old!

  3. Here's the link to Cheerios https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/55737/cheerios


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