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Billy Collins Reads His Poetry at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington on Wednesday
Only America could produce a poet laureate whose first name — as he prefers it — is “Billy.” Billy the Kid comes to mind, but also some overstimulated tyke running amok on a playground. (“Billy!! Billy!! Get off those monkey bars!!”) Billy Collins, the U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-03) who will be reading his poetry at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington on Aug. 7, sweeps the reader along like that kid on the playground. It is with a child-like pleasure that the reader follows him into the ether as his lines end and pick up on the other side. But it is also deceptive. “On Turning Ten,” for example, is a beautiful poem about childhood’s end that, without line breaks reads like prose, “This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself as I walk through the universe in my sneakers. It is time to say goodbye to my imaginary friends.” But is it? At age ten? God, I hope not.
By Alan Bisbort
August 5, 2013