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The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins

April 13, 2017

Billy Collins is back with another thought-provoking collection of words.

Happy Poetry Month!
I was never a big poetry fan growing up. I can’t really think of a good reason why not, but I think I just wasn’t exposed to it, so I didn’t “get it.” But then in 2010, the Nashville Public Library selected former Poet Laureate of the United States, Billy Collins, as our Literary Award Winner. 
And just like that, he became of my favorite poets. I have since expanded my poetry readings and have found others that l enjoy, but Collins just has his own flavor that no one else can match. His latest collection of poems, The Rain in Portugal, is no exception.
The title is a play on the old My Fair Lady trope “The Rain in Spain.” Collins is making fun of the fact that his poems never rhyme. Which I think is what I like most about his work. Somehow he manages to tell the best stories with the sharpest imagery, but with the fewest words possible. Proust should take a lesson. Here is an example from one of my favorite poems from this collection, “Early Morning”:
I don’t know which cat is responsible 
For destroying my Voter Registration Card
So I decide to lecture the two of them
On the sanctity of private property,
The rules of nighttime comportment in general,
And while I’m at it, the importance
Of voting to an enlightened citizenship

I have kittens like that, except mine love to destroy headphones and cell phone cords. Maybe my cats are more civically-minded than those belonging to Collins. Either way, feel free to explore the rest of Collins' works, as well as those of his fellow poets during this month of word magic. 
Who knows? Maybe the rain in Spain will stay mainly on the plain…in Portugal.
Happy rhyming…all of the timing…

:) Amanda


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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.


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