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All Quotes by author - Billy Collins
" A lasting marriage, they say, is one where the two reach for different sections of the Sunday paper. Me, I go right for the obituaries, just like those very elderly characters in Muriel Spark's spooky novel, 'Memento Mori.' "
" Attempts to put my poems to music have had disastrous results in all cases. And the poem, if it's written with the ear, already has been set to its own verbal music as it was composed. "
" Humor, for me, is really a gate of departure. It's a way of enticing a reader into a poem so that less funny things can take place later. It really is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. "
" I don't write for an auditorium full of people. I don't write for the microphone; I write for the page. "
" If an artist is driven primarily by social responsibility, I think the art probably suffers because, again, just as leadership has a rather defined end point or purpose, social responsibility would seem to have a very clear moral context. "
" I find that my reading, particularly nonfiction, can inspire a poem as well as anything else. "
" I have a stack of those plastic card hotel room keys that I picked up on this latest book tour. It's about a yard tall. Ah yes, a stack of lonely nights. "
" I learned snails don't have ears. They live in silence. They go slowly. Slowly, slowly in silence. "
" I think my poems are slightly underrated by the word 'accessible.' "
" I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times - and this, I think, is a sense you develop - I can tell that the line wants to continue. If it does, I can feel a sense of momentum - the poem finds a reason for continuing. "
" I write with a Uni-Ball Onyx Micropoint on nine-by-seven bound notebooks made by a Canadian company called Blueline. After I do a few drafts, I type up the poem on a Macintosh G3 and then send it out the door. "
" Listeners are kind of ambushed... if a poem just happens to be said when they're listening to the radio. The listener doesn't have time to deploy what I call their 'poetry deflector shields' that were installed in high school - there's little time to resist the poem. "
" Often people, when they're confronted with a poem, it's like someone who keep saying 'what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of this?' And that dulls us to the other pleasures poetry offers. "
" Poems, for me, begin as a social engagement. I want to establish a kind of sociability or even hospitality at the beginning of a poem. The title and the first few lines are a kind of welcome mat where I am inviting the reader inside. "
" Poetry can do a lot of things to people. I mean it can improve your imagination. It can take you to new places. It can give you this incredible form of verbal pleasure. "
" Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield. "
" Radio is such a perfect medium for the transmission of poetry, primarily because there just is the voice, there's no visual distraction. "
" The disappointing second novel is measured against the brilliant first novel - often no novel lives up to the first. Literary improvement seems like an unfair expectation. "
" The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme. "
" The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you're simply using a pen to record what you have thought out. "
" The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is, 'What happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem?' That's the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere, because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing. "
" The public is probably more suspicious of poets than women, and maybe for good reason. "
" There are interesting forms of difficulty, and there are unprofitable forms of difficulty. I mean, I enjoy some difficult poetry, but some of it is impenetrable and I actually wouldn't want to penetrate it if I could, perhaps. "
" There's something very authentic about humor, when you think about it. Anybody can pretend to be serious. But you can't pretend to be funny. "
" We love, you know, children love the ingredients of poetry. And then they go into this tunnel that we call adolescence, and when they come out of it, they hate poetry. "
" When I write, I'm not trying to be funny. It's the way I look at the world. "
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