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Nine Horses: Poems

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  3,815 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews
This is poet Billy Collins first collection of new poems in four years, and it follows on the heels of the runaway success of "Sailing Alone Around the Room."
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published September 17th 2002 by Random House (NY) (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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TK421
Feb 16, 2011 TK421 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-drama
Let me start by saying: I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT POETRY! In grad school I intentionally steered clear of any class that had to analyze poetry in any aspect. It’s not that I was afraid of the work; it was more that the work overwhelmed me. How does one exactly go about analyzing the thoughts of a person when the words are directed at allusions and people and places and times that the reader may have little to no knowledge of?

Years have passed since my chickening out, and I have decided to
...more
David Barbero
Dec 09, 2008 David Barbero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
litany

"you are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine."
-- jacques crickillon

you are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
you are the dew on the morning grass,
and the burning wheel of the sun.
you are the white apron of the baker
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

however, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
and you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
there is no way you are the pine-scented air.

it is possible
...more
Rachel
Apr 02, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2013
I would not call myself a fan of poetry by any stretch of the imagination. I avoided poetry classes as much as possible while getting my English degree, and suffered and rolled my eyes through the ones I had to take. This is an enormous generalization, but poetry usually feels to me like it's obscure for the sake of obscurity. "If I hide my thoughts beneath 8 different layers of allusion and metaphor and break them up into nearly meaningless little fragments, I'll look deep and thoughtful and ar ...more
Hansen Wendlandt
Jul 26, 2011 Hansen Wendlandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Nine Horses was the first time I've ever gone immediately online to order the rest of an author's works. It's as good as poetry can get for someone who appreciates poetry without any formal study. Collins has an impeccable style, longer poems than Dickinson (which can just scroll by), but short enough to keep full attention. Shakespeare might push layers of meaning onto single words, but Collins has an uncanny way of using a straightfoward line that means one thing with the previou ...more
Matthew Huff
Oct 17, 2016 Matthew Huff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvelous. Collins' ability to transform a seemingly mundane detail into a poetic cosmos is simply excellent. He's got a lot of winners in this collection.
Kristy K
Jan 22, 2017 Kristy K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2017
3.5 Stars
A.M.
Nov 26, 2011 A.M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nine Horses is a collection of poetry for those of us who have attained some of the patience and wisdom that come with middle age. "We must always look at things from the point of view of eternity," he says in "Velocity," and the book is a celebration of the subtlety of life, the beauty in inanimate objects we normally take for granted and those moments in time absent of the drama humans seem to crave - romance, riches, the thrill of victory.

If the poet were younger, Collins admits, "I might be
...more
Cheryl
He is called "sensible and gifted," and I have to laugh; I bet not many poets want to be called sensible, I imagine they are looking for more flowery adjectives like passionate or brilliant. But these poems aren't really either, they are, well, sensible. But gifted! I like his imagery:

"But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod
ready for the next arrow." Aimless Love

"As one bucket after another
of warm water was poured over my lowered head,
I stopped thinking of who and what to than
...more
Tracy
Mar 05, 2009 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're debating about reading Billy Collins, or any poetry for that matter, you MUST check him out. Here's a sample to show you that poetry can be beautiful, but funny, too (I was reading this in bed, and laughed out loud -- actually woke my husband -- because I could just SEE this little mouse...):

"The Country"
I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was
...more
Patricia J. O'Brien
I like poetry that is first of all honest, followed by language that has cadence, vivid imagery and emotional impact. It can be witty or painful or anything in between if it has the other ingredients like Billy Collins's Nine Horses.
Some may disagree with me, but I don't think poetry has to be epic in length or carry a heavy weight of import. For me, it needs to be a snapshot of life that resonates like a bell.
For instance, I love the way "Aimless Love" opens: "This morning as I walked along the
...more
Sarah
Jan 10, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am truly mystified why this guy is "the most popular poet in America," according to the New York Times. His poems are like making a great to-do about hopping around in a tiny circle, or like reading someone's tweets narrating what they had for breakfast. His poems are all very brief snapshots, without much that provides any kind of resonance. They are easy to understand, which is perhaps the reason why they are "popular," but I didn't get much out of the read. Collins leans heavily on first pe ...more
Castela
THE PARADE


How exhilarating it was to march
along the great boulevards
in the sunflash of trumpets
and under all the waving flags—
the flag of ambition, the flag of love.

So many of us streaming along—
all of humanity, really—
moving in perfect step,
yet each lost in the room of a private dream.

How stimulating the scenery of the world,
the rows of roadside trees,
the huge curtain of the sky.

How endless it seemed until we veered
off the broad turnpike
into a pasture of high grass,
headed toward the dizzying cl
...more
Andrea
Sep 08, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This volume seemed to be more serious and reflective... the images are strong and the figurative language is original and arresting. `Free verse. ...more
E
Apr 11, 2015 E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Finally, someone captures the horrific pain and angst of getting that horrible tune caught in your head for hours, even days, in "More than a Woman." (For a real treat, pull it up on You-Tube and hear Collins' amusing intro before he reads it out loud.) The final poem, "Poetry," is a funny, lovely, and wise treatise on how poetry has a different job than fiction or drama. Collins is such an exceptional observer of the unexceptional--how the quotidian is the most extraordinary thing we can ever e ...more
Kirby
Jan 04, 2017 Kirby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The holidays and the end of 2016 in general took a real bite out of me, so I thought some light poetry might help soothe my spirit. This is really accessible poetry that celebrates ordinary pleasures, like the sun on your face, or setting a bird free that somehow got trapped in your living room. It's not revolutionary stuff, but it was very nice reading a little every day when I got home from work and before bed. It reminded me how much I like poetry and how certain types of poetry do indeed hav ...more
Frank
Sep 30, 2007 Frank rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Billy Collins fans
It's never unpleasant to read Billy Collins, but the payoffs of this collection's 51 poems seemed smaller than those of his Sailing Alone Around the Room. That's not surprising, given that the latter collects standout poems from his whole career. Still, this book's offerings often felt a little too light, too precious.
John Curtis
This is what happens when a writer becomes a parody of his or herself. Billy Collins' stuff was charming and refreshing enough to get away with writing the same two or three poems over and over again for several books. However, a second decade of poems about wine, jazz, and laid-back Italian vacations tries one's patience.
oNightshade
My favorite lines, from the poem Love :

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.
Daniela
May 15, 2012 Daniela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I normally mark poems that I particularly enjoy with slips of paper. I stopped doing that with this collection after a few pages because I realized that I was marking every poem. I think that this might have just become my favorite collection of poetry. I am truly in love.
Vicki
Dec 17, 2013 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I. Love. This. Poet. What a fabulous writer! It is so easy to get caught up in the images his writing evokes; the sense of wonder and comfort, of days gone by and memories that are awakened. It is no wonder he was a Poet Laureate. Fabulous!
lisa
Jul 26, 2008 lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i love his poems. it's like a mix of the metaphysical with a dash of secret english major jokes.
Alison Hardtmann
Nov 25, 2016 Alison Hardtmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
After three days of steady, inconsolable rain,
I walk through the rooms of the house
wondering which would be best to die in.


I read very little poetry. Laughably little, embarrassingly little. But [[Billy Collins]] reminds me here, as he always does, that poetry is not sentimental or schlocky or dull. [Nine Horses: Poems] was just like the other books of his that I've read, slowly, a poem or two a day. There are poems about yearning and love and also poems about the weather or what he sees from th
...more
Melody Cook
Mar 19, 2017 Melody Cook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely collection--observational poetry in that masterful Collins way. Factories include: "Rooms," "The Literary Life," and "Balsa."
Lora
Nov 26, 2016 Lora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the cover I thought they might be creepy poems and was careful to start reading during the day, but I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and slice of life his poems were.
Patrick Frownfelter
Dec 13, 2016 Patrick Frownfelter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Really enjoyed this collection! Collins writes in a way that makes you appreciate everyday life, that warms your heart. Particular favorites include "No Time", "The Parade", and "Royal Aristocrat."
Deb
Feb 05, 2017 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful!
Antonia
May 20, 2011 Antonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I'd read all of Collins's collections except for this one and the most recent.

I can say I enjoyed the book in a very general way, but I'm left thinking: Hmmm... Isn't this a little dumbed-down? Is it really what I think of when I think (eek!) "poetry"? I generally like early Collins better than later Collins. He seems to be one poet who has not improved with writing or with age. Just my opinion. I preferred the earlier sections of this collection. By section IV, I'd lost some interest or the poe
...more
Fatma
Mar 19, 2016 Fatma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is becoming redundant but, I LOVED THIS. Collins' poems are absolutely stunning. He imbues the mundane with so much wonder and magic. And, like I said before, his language is enchanting. It really is. The English language succumbs to this man.

You know the drill, here are some of my favourites:

The Parade
How exhilarating it was to march
along the great boulevards
in the sunflash of trumpets
and under all the waving flags—
the flag of ambition, the flag of love.

So many of us streaming along—
all of
...more
Angie
Oct 10, 2010 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd loved the few Billy Collins' poems I had read, but I hadn't read many. One evening last week I was hanging around my parents' house, sitting on a porch swing in the back yard while the children played in the sand when it occurred to me that I was enjoying a rather idyllic moment, but that it would be better if I had a book. So I wandered in the house, found a book case, and picked out _Nine Horses_. (I'm sure it's yours, Laurie, but I've stolen it now; you can steal it back though.) So I'm n ...more
Amey
Feb 18, 2013 Amey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
#1 Drawing

Ink strokes on rice paper -
a wooden bridge
curved over a river,

mountains in the distance,
and in the foreground
a wind-blown tree.

I rotate the book on the table
so the tree
is leaning toward your village.

http://www.ted.com/talks/billy_collin...

#2 Velocity

In the club car that morning I had my notebook
open on my lap and my pen uncapped,
looking every inch the writer
right down to the little writer’s frown on my face,

but there was nothing to write
about except life and death
and the low warning so
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Poetry Readers Ch...: Nine Horses by Billy Collins 8 24 Jul 22, 2013 12:25PM  
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  • The Art of the Lathe
  • Evidence: Poems
  • Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft
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  • Selected Poems
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William A. ("Billy") Collins is an American poet. He served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. In his home state, Collins has been recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004.
More about Billy Collins...

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