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​Billy Collins is Awesome, or: How I Started Liking Poetry

Despite what I claimed as a pretentious 6th grader, I never really liked poetry. I always wanted to like it, but I never felt connected to it. In high school the only poetry we studied was Plath, which was the closest I came liking poetry, but my English teacher told me my analysis was completely wrong, so I pushed that away too.

Then, last year, I saw an interview with Billy Collins on the Colbert Report. He was funny, unpretentious, and just seemed like a nice guy (not nice guy TM). His poetry is easy to understand and has a lot of snark, which I love.

I kind of feel bad claiming such a mainstream, white, old, man as my favorite poet, but he is.

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Here he is reading two poems at the White House. Listen through until the 2nd one, it's one of my favorites.

And here is my favorite poem of his:

What She Said

by Billy Collins

When he told me he expected me to pay for dinner,

I was like give me a break.

I was not the exact equivalent of give me a break.

I was just similar to give me a break.

As I said, I was like give me a break.

I would love to tell you

how I was able to resemble give me a break

without actually being identical to give me a break,

but all I can say is that I sensed

a similarity between me and give me a break.

And that was close enough

at that point in the evening

even if it meant I would fall short

of standing up from the table and screaming

give me a break,

for God's sake will you please give me a break?!

No, for that moment

with the rain streaking the restaurant windows

and the waiter approaching,

I felt the most I could be was like

to a certain degree

give me a break.

Who is your favorite poet? Do you have a favorite poem?

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