Hester Thorpe's Reviews > Horoscopes for the Dead

Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins
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Jul 30, 12

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Read in July, 2012

I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Collins read several of these poems aloud when he came to Cleveland last fall. Two of them, Grave and Horoscopes for the Dead stuck with me in a huge way. They're some of his greatest poems, right up there with my other favourites.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book is terribly weak. I've had this habit with poetry books since I was an undergrad - I dog-ear the pages of the poems I really really love. With some books, most of the poems get marked. With this one, I marked only six...that is so few. And it's not like the other ones just weren't quite good enough - they were genuinely weak poems, in my mind. I wouldn't even want to glance at them again. That's truly a sad thing to say.

There was one that I did love though. I heard Billy read this one as well, and I *loved* it. I immediately wanted to find it and send it off to my nieces, who probably wouldn't get it...The first few lines of it are:

"When he told me he expected me to pay for dinner,
I was like give me a break.

I was not the exact equivalent of give me a break.
I was just similar to give me a break."
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