Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jay Parini on Billy Collins and Rita Dove

For months I've promised to publish a post on poet-novelist Jay Parini. This is not that post.

Parini has a review in last week's Guardian about Billy Collins' first book of poetry (published in the U.S. in 1988 and now coming out in Britain) and Rita Dove's latest collection. Check it out.

The Collins collection is titled The Apple that Astonished Paris. The Guardian reprints this nice poem, "Walking Across the Atlantic," and I imagine the publisher would appreciate my doing the same.
I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.
Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.

I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.

But for now I must try to imagine what
this must look like to fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.

Good stuff. If you like your poetry criticism a little more thorough than "good stuff," click here for Parini's take.

Dove's collection is titled American Smooth. Click here for media reactions to American Smooth (one of the New York Times' 100 notable books of the year 2004). Parini says the collection "is among [Dove's] best work in some years."

To hear Rita Dove read "Hattie McDaniel Arrives at the Coconut Grove" from this new collection, click here, then scroll down to #57.

Click here for a link to my favorite Billy Collins poem.

--Marshal Zeringue