Book Bingo: It’s almost a year!

Book Bingo - with stamps

I can’t believe it, my year is almost up! I started this in February and now have four months left to read ten books. With this in mind, this post is a super rushed catch up.

Rye_catcherA Banned Book

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

I read this book for my book club and was surprised. I had always envisioned what the book was about from the descriptions other people have given me. It was nothing like any of them. I can say that I did not enjoy this book, however it was interested to finish the book and research the history and context surrounding the book being banned.

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Spotlight: Billy Collins

Embrace

You know the parlor trick.

wrap your arms around your own body

and from the back it looks like

someone is embracing you

her hands grasping your shirt

her fingernails teasing your neck

from the front it is another story

you never looked so alone

your crossed elbows and screwy grin

you could be waiting for a tailor

to fit you with a straight jacket

one that would hold you really tight.

-Billy Collins

Billy Collins is an American poet whose style is one that emulates an almost personal conversation with the reader. Often times in a poem Collins will address the reader pondering the question of, ‘I am here, where are you?’ Coupled with this tearing down of the fourth wall is the humour evident in his work. Poems such as ‘Embrace’ (seen above) and ‘Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House‘ are the poems where this humour and almost bitter playfulness stand out the most.

Other themes addressed by Collins are numerous and vary greatly, however while humour is certainly evident in the work, so too is a sense of depression. References to anti-depressants and a developed sense of ennui litter the works sporadically. These moments of humour, sadness and above all an appreciation of the small things in life are all strongly evident in Collins work. The collections and published books of Collins are a pleasure to read as his work is very accessible to the reader. There is no extended or complicated focus on style or form, rather Collins presents simple yet poignant poems. This distinct style and body of work is one that, for me, makes Collins an inspired and brilliant poet.

For a sample of his work, a few of Billy Collins’ poems can be found here and here.