Reading Matters

Billy Collins’s 12th collection coming in October

Billy Collins
Billy Collins AZ/PM

In the world of poetry – wonderful news.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will have a new book, his 12th, in early October. “The Rain in Portugal” will offer 50 new poems about Collins’s favorite subjects – art, travel, cats and dogs, love and loneliness, death and beauty.

Many poets are admired. A great many are loved. I would say that Collins is cherished by much of the poetry-reading audience in this country.

Here’s the beginning of one of the poems in the new book. It’s called “Child Lost at the Beach”

“This time, a boy had gone missing

for so many hours a television crew had been sent out

to cover the story, which is how I heard

one lifeguard explain to the camera

that a lost child will often start walking

along the shoreline, in the direction of the sun.”

Why do we so love Collins?

Because he speaks directly to us. Because he writes about subjects that matter. Because he has layers of depth without being highfalutin. Because his subjects engage our minds, our psyches and our hearts.