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The Apple That Astonished Paris

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  496 Ratings  ·  31 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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Brent Legault
Apr 02, 2008 Brent Legault rated it really liked it
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
Nov 02, 2010 Colin Bailes rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 02, 2012 Jennybeast rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Oct 06, 2014 Jaffa Kintigh rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
Apr 24, 2012 Mmars rated it really liked it
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.
Margaret Fisk
Jan 10, 2016 Margaret Fisk rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

I rarely read a book of poetry, and my taste runs more to Rudyard Kipling than most modern poetry. However, when I learned this book included a poem on etymology (something of a pleasure for me), I undertook to explore Billy Collins’ poetry.

What I discovered was articulate and evocative description to delight and surprise me. His ability to capture a place, time, or mood is significant, and I believe I enjoyed every one of the poems in the first section
Sara Diane
Oct 05, 2007 Sara Diane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: own, 2008, poetry, 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.
Sep 18, 2014 Marsha rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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).
David Feela
Sep 20, 2015 David Feela rated it it was amazing
If you've hated poetry since high school, this is the book for you. It's Collins's first "real" book of poetry, as he says, published by a major publishing house. The poems are tiny gems that glitter and prompt a closer look. It took me a month to read this short book because I savored two poems a day. The genre is perfect for those of us who snatch moments out of the day to read, just as Collins snatches moments out of the world to center his poetic sensibility. And for anyone that doesn't know ...more
Feb 06, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
There is no Billy Collins book I do not love.
Jacquelin Devlin
Dec 16, 2013 Jacquelin Devlin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Oct 12, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
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.
Kevin Revolinski
Jan 23, 2016 Kevin Revolinski rated it it was amazing
my favorite contemporary poet. wonderful stuff and often amusing.
Apr 20, 2016 Phoebe added it
I enjoyed this small book of poems.
Justin Hall
Nov 07, 2014 Justin Hall rated it really liked it
Witty and fun.
Jan 03, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Billy Collins.
Kevin Brown
Jul 09, 2013 Kevin Brown rated it liked it
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 really liked it
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 Goetz
Jan 19, 2016 Adria Goetz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 liked it
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.

Dec 31, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
I especially love "Flames" and "Another Reason I Don't Keep a Gun in the House."
May 11, 2008 Shoshana rated it really liked it
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.
May 27, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great collection of poems. Loved it. I believe it is the first collection Collins published.
Allen Steele
Dec 21, 2013 Allen Steele rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
it was his first book, I thought it was better his later offerings.
Apr 12, 2008 AC rated it it was ok
Somehow, not as gripping as most of his works, but still an ok read.
Nov 22, 2009 ylin002 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2012 John Herceg rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Clever. Simple. Funny. Touching.
Jan 21, 2010 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  • New and Selected Poems
  • Speak Low
  • Without: Poems
  • Meadowlands
  • Selected Poems: 1965-1975
  • Flying At Night: Poems 1965-1985
  • Selected Poems: 1931-2004
  • The Art of the Lathe
  • Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts
  • Fire to Fire
  • The Panther and the Lash
  • Collected Poems
  • Time and Materials
  • District and Circle
  • In the Next Galaxy
  • New Selected Poems
  • The Poems of Dylan Thomas
  • Domestic Violence: Poems
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…