Poet Kendra Kopelke introduces Billy Collins as “a remarkable power.” The two discuss the centrality of the reader in his poetry, the hedonistic pleasure writing poetry gives him, and how anxiety quashes imagination. Collins describes his father trying to convince him to go to business school, and his mother’s frequent recitation of poetry, then his romantic high school idea of becoming a scarf-wearing poet, like Edgar Allen Poe. Using the analogy of an eye chart, Collins explains that he wants his poems to start out simple and go to complexity. “You start with the gigantic E, and everyone’s on board with the E, you’re moving into less legible, more demanding territory. Like any analogy, this one breaks down. I don’t want the last line, the ending, to be inscrutable or completely illegible, but I want it to be more challenging than the E. You don’t want to have all Es.” Collins reads a poem about his father,“The Death of the Hat,” and “Japan,” about reading a haiku.
The Writing Life airs Tuesdays at 11am, 4pm and 7pm, Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.
Visit www.hocopolitso.com for more information.
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