Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Book Review: so, it's poetry.

Do you know many people who sit down and read poetry? I don't. At least not that I know of, although they must be out there, because lots of it seems to get published. It just isn't usually on my list of things to read.

But I ran across mention of this week's book, and the title (and the comments) were intriguing, so I tracked down a copy. After I read it? Well, I'll let you read the review...

Nine Horses by Billy Collins
I picked up Nine Horses on a whim ( I liked the title, and as I said, the comments I read were promising). The cover has horse heads on it. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell from the picture I saw, that the horse pictured is, well... dead. That was the first surprise.

Although it's not at all horse-related in the sense the title suggests, I enjoyed it very much. After the dead horse on the cover discovery, that was the second.

Collins' poems are lyric and accessible at the same time. He muses on every day matters -- 3 AM wakefulness, love and domesticity, or the simple act of watching the scenery click by on a train trip -- and makes them experiences worthy of remembering.

I'm not usually a poetry reader, so this isn't a particularly literary review, but today I've been more watchful for the beauty in the everyday. I'll look for Collins' name in the future if a poetic mood strikes me, and I'm adding Nine Horses to my "books to purchase" list.
Even if it does have a dead horse on the cover.

What's in story for coming weeks? Well, one of the beautiful things about working is a library is that occasionally I run across nifty titles that might otherwise escape my notice. For instance, this week I found The Secret Life of Cowboys and a old book of compiled (purportedly non-fiction, but we'll see) tales of long riders and endurance challenges. The best part? They're now mine, as the library already has copies and no one else wanted them. :)


Summer Girl said...

"Nine Horses" is the title of the artwork Collins chose for his cover and is also the title of his book of poems.

Some of the horses may look dead, but they were most assuredly ALIVE when the photographer, Edweard Muybridge, photographed them. Then, the artist who created "Nine Horses," John Maggiotto, blew up nine of Muybridge's photos and printed them on tile.

So, no dead horses on this or any other cover of a Billy Collins book.

And the bear on the cover of THE TROUBLE WITH POETRY was also not dead.

SunnySD said...

Thanks for the correction, SummerGirl - they certainly look less than lively! But definitely good to know they're all still upright. Haven't encountered any of Collins' other books, but I'll keep that in mind.