Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Poem of the Day: Some Days

The other day I asked the students in one of my classes to name their favorite living poets. Sadly (but expectedly), they met my request with the same kind of terrified, blank stares I get when I announce a pop quiz. Eventually, most of them grudgingly acknowledged that they didn't know the name of a single living poet (and these were English majors). Even those who managed to come up with the name of a poet or two had to strain to pull them from their memories. ("Oh . . . oh . . . that one guy!) All of this reminded me why I started this blog.

I believe writers matter. I believe ideas matter. I believe art matters. And if this blog exposes even a few people to contemporary literature who wouldn't otherwise see it, I'll be perfectly content.

So to all my readers who struggle to name living poets, today I offer you this -- a beautifully read poem titled "Some Days" by Billy Collins.

Incidentally, Billy Collins served as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. Collins doesn't try, as I suspect some poets do, to be intentionally abstract and weird. Instead, he's a populist, writing poetry for the common man and woman.

As always, your thoughts on poetry, Billy Collins, or the above poem are welcome in the comments.


Robert Brown said...
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Robert Brown said...

The correct answer ought to have been Ted Kooser:

Because of poems like this:

Michemily said...

I didn't know about him until your post. Thanks! And, is that his own voice?

Professor Josh said...

Michemily - I'm not 100% sure the voice on the video is Billy Collins, but it does sound like him to me. If I were a betting man, I'd say it was him.

Collins has a great reading voice, deep and kind of airy and strong at the same time. You can compare the voice on the video above with Collins voice here:

Collins Reading a Poem

Do you think they're the same? I do.

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