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The Apple That Astonished Paris

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  455 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In 1988 the University of Arkansas Press published Billy Collins's The Apple That Astonished Paris, his "first real book of poems," as he describes it in a new, delightful preface written expressly for this new printing to help celebrate both the Press's twenty-fifth anniversary and this book, one of the Press's all-time best sellers.

In his usual witty and dry style, Coll

Paperback, 61 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by Univ of Arkansas Pr (first published February 1st 1988)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 699)
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Brent Legault
I know it's a little corny (okay, it's very, very corny) but I thought I'd try to read a book of poems a day for the next thirty days (on account of it being National Poetry Month). Stupid? Perhaps. (It's a bit like reading The Autobiography of Malcom X in February.)

Anyway, I sponser a lot of poetry, I hawk it in my shop, I listen to it, praise it, nod at it, generally acknowledge its importance, etc. But I rarely just sit down and read it. Hypocrite? Probably. But I'm willing to change.


Colin Bailes
What I learned from Billy Collins as a poet: poetry doesn't always have to be depressing and there is a lighter side to life that is worth taking a look at. Billy Collins' poems do sometimes delve into deep or depressing matters, but his wittiness helps buffer those moments. A poet shouldn't always throw the worst of the world at the reader. Sometimes, we need a poet who makes us laugh.
I was looking for language and wry humor and Billy Collins fit the bill. This time and every time, he delivers the sublime and the ridiculous.
Jaffa Kintigh
This is my second time reading this collection. It is easy to read and clever, though the cleverness is usually cloying. I look for beauty in the poems I read, in particular, the beauty of describing something in a way that transcends the component words. Cleverness does not equal beauty.

The first poem that really got my attention was "Flying to the Funeral." It opens with both a wonderful depiction of what it feels like to look out a plane at the world below and with that aching feeling where a
Very accomplished early effort. At times they felt a bit like practice poems, but that is a squabble. Few of us could even write one poem in our lifetimes that could come close to anything Collins has written here. Many of these poems relate to things literary - reading, writing, language, etc. Something I enjoyed a lot. It was one of the ars poetica pieces that drew me to the book and as I read I had no idea which one it was. But for me, that was a good thing.
Sara Diane
Oct 05, 2007 Sara Diane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: own, poetry, 2008, reviewed
Billy Collins is, hands-down, the best poet in America at this time. I am never disapointed in his work. I was first introduced to Billy in college (literarly, he came to do a reading at my school) and I've been in love ever since. Even if you aren't a fan of poetry, you will find something in Collins' work to love. He writes beautiful, witty and surprizing poems.
I like Billy Collins. I was reminded to read him again when I recently read The Wonder Spot , and narrator Sophie Applebaum read him. "Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House" remains my favorite (and is also Sophie's favorite).
There is no Billy Collins book I do not love.
Jacquelin Devlin
The odd slant of Billie Collins’ poems is often like a childrens’ sliding board into deeper, more adult domains. His intentionally reader-friendly openings set one comfortably on that slide, and then comes the push. He looks at the world from the other side of “The Vanishing Point.” He wants to visit “The Blue” to “watch the brainstorms gathering darkly.” He writes about the campfire of “Cancer.” These are poems I wanted to read to other people, poems I wanted to reread again and again.

In a Par
Billy Collins is a great poet...this is from someone who does not read a lot of poetry, but his reaches me. It is usually easy to read and understand and usually has a laugh in it as well.
Justin Hall
Witty and fun.
I love Billy Collins.
Kevin Brown
This volume has everything that makes Collins great, but it is obviously his early work. His curiosity and keen sight are apparent in every poem, but they often lack the subtlety and sophistication that mark his more mature poems. Three of my favorites from the collection were: "Vanishing Point", "Strange Lands", and "Cancer".
Aug 02, 2008 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
"Introduction to Poetry" and "Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House" are the two most famous poems from this collection, Collins' first book of poetry. I love nearly all of them, including a quiet little poem called "Tourist: Dromahair, Co. Sligo."
Adria Olson
Though it was Collins' first collection of poetry, I think it is my favorite. I often love poets' first books. They're never as polished, but I think that makes them have more flavor. If you are interested in poetry, you need to read this book!
Feb 11, 2010 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: apples, ants
Recommended to Kate by: PS 3553.O47478
Shelves: poetry
He moves from paragraph to paragraph
as if touring a house of endless, panelled rooms.

Imagine squatting in the wasteland
of Pluto, all five tons of you,
or wandering around Mercury
wondering what to do next with your ounce.

I especially love "Flames" and "Another Reason I Don't Keep a Gun in the House."
Quite a few poems in here made me laugh out loud or jump to share them with people. Thank you, Billy Collins. Thank you for making sense.
This is a great collection of poems. Loved it. I believe it is the first collection Collins published.
Allen Steele
it was his first book, I thought it was better his later offerings.
Somehow, not as gripping as most of his works, but still an ok read.
oh my gosh, i can't believe i'm just discovering him...
Jan 04, 2009 Graydon marked it as to-read
I love Billy Collins! Can't wait to read this one.
John Herceg
Amazing. Clever. Simple. Funny. Touching.
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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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Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.”
“all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.”
More quotes…