"PICNIC, LIGHTNING" by Billy Collins


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The sixth book of poems by the Lehman College professor has the same carefree, if not careless, sensibility of his earlier work. His catalogues of everyday moments-a jazz riff heard, a book passage remembered, a bird contemplated-aspire to a Frank O'Hara-like chattiness. But Collins (in poems such as ""I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakely's Version of 'Three Blind Mice' "") lacks that great cosmopolitan's jaunty bop and charm. Collins's semirural musings rely on mundane imagery (night is ""black and silky""; the woods are ""dense green"") and his regular-guy, Buddhist-joker pose-which can be funny, though he's never particularly witty or ironic. These forty-odd poems that celebrate the ephemeral seem, appropriately, dashed-off and therefore forgettable.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1998
ISBN: 0822940663
Page count: 104pp
Publisher: Univ. of Pittsburgh