Made the Billy Collins reading over at Vanderbilt on Friday. Meagen and I navigated that pulsing campus and joined many clapping people, young people, sensitive people, grey people. Plus, floor sitters. How does a poet fill a hall reading when poetry has so obviously slipped out of the realm of validity from the arts (?) Long representative of an accessible ( "I write for readers" ), amusing ( in one poem, he makes a dog speak: "the jingle of my tags drove me mad" ), meandering ( several poems begin or contain, "For no particular reason..." ), narrative ( The end of a narrative arc is what one expects to find at the end of his poem ) poetry, Billy is the most commercially successful poet I can think of ( therefore, he is poetry to most ameripeoples ). It's quite the trick, folding an inherently unmarketable little language into paychecks, commodifying it.
If you've recently had a frontal lobotomy, poetry doesn't yield in the way airport novels do**. As such, Billy's work shares more with moderate fiction or pop prose than with poetry. The New Critical distinction de-likened The Poem from a thrashing fish in your skiff ( that you must deal with ) to The Poem as fishy on a white plate ( that you consume effortlessly ). That last type has much appeal to the american. Yowzah, folks that have poetry in this manner seem unpoetic. I become less swagfull.
But, the new Fact-Simile ( #7 ) is up and out, and it's the last bi-annual issue they'll be doing. It's a once a year thang now. Put on that old Ratatat, check out this work, hit your universal refresher switch.
Also, George McKim is placing a couple poems in his next issue of Psychic Meatloaf. Elsa, my destroyed field / is still a place for you and Returned as From Balconies are soon to writhe issue # 4, out in late October.
**Recommended: What it be like.