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Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  4,627 ratings  ·  654 reviews
The first volume of New and Selected poetry in twelve years from the two-time Poet Laureate of the United States.

Aimless Love gives the reader an opportunity to assess the rich scope of Collins' gifts. Containing more than fifty new poems and a generous gathering from his collections of the past decade-Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, and Nine
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Random House
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  4,627 ratings  ·  654 reviews

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Heather Fineisen
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The only thing better than reading Billy Collins is listening to Billy Collins. His witty word placement is a sophisticated SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit that can make you laugh out loud at first glance, but mourn at the irony of our own ridiculousness. Litany stands as one of my all time favorites, and Collins, with his Kevin Spacey voice, is the bread and the knife and the wine in my book.

book provided by publisher, audio bought with my husband's very hard earned money.
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it

In turns somber and humorous, reverent and rebellious, Billy Collins' delightful collection of poems illuminates little corners of everyday life with precision, attentiveness and wit. In short, it does what great poems do best: they make us slow down and look at everything with renewed urgency and a deeper understanding.

Whether describing the daily rituals of a poet or the gradations of emotions, whether looking at divorce through the lens of kitchen utensils or the different transition terms
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolute delight. Collins has such witty observations and a cool, nonchalant style. I already want to read this one again, and everything else by him too.
I've read and heard about Billy Collins for some time but never actually read him until now. First, I did find myself chuckling frequently at clever phrasing and word juxtapositions, particularly in the first half to 2/3rds of the book. Collins can be very clever at creating wonderful images. Some of these images came together for me into equally effective poems but many did not...they just sat and seemed to wait for me to find more meaning in them. Or this might be an aspect of what I seek in ...more
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read quite a bit of poetry, but I wasn't familiar with Billy Collins, who was our U.S. Poet Laureate for a couple of years, but clearly missed my radar.

He's good, and it looks like he's had some success selling poetry, which always makes me stand up and cheer. It isn't easy to be a poet, and I know it.

Collins is a strong imagist. This is a quick example from one of his rare short poems, Divorce:

Once, two spoons in bed,
now tined forks
across a granite table
and the knives they have hired.

He takes
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
นอกจาก Billy Collins จะรวบรวมบทกวีจากสีเลมกอนหนานี กยังมีบทกวีชุดใหมดวย เริมตนดวยบทนี

The Sandhill Cranes of Nebraska

Too bad you werent here six months ago,
was a lament I heard on my visit to Nebraska.
You could have seen the astonishing spectacle
of the sandhill cranes, thousands of them
feeding and even dancing on the shores of the Platte River.

There was no point in pointing out
the impossibility of my being there then
because I happened to be somewhere else,
so I nodded and put on a look of mild
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing


I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.

Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly
in a row boat on the far side of the lake.

They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.

Ooh what a heartwarming collection of poems on love from his various books, proving Billy Collins sure can write and write like a much-needed breeze on this hot, summer day.

Must read.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Billy Collins does what all poets do: banging their heads against nothingness and celebrating the ephemeral pleasures of earthly existence. But unlike some his of bardic brethren Collins never loses his composure. Angst and euphoria are sublimated in an unerring feeling for balance and a droll sense of humor. His lyric disposition is suffused with childlike wonderment, ironic self-depreciation and an old-world brand of courtesy and compassion. Many will want their poetry shot to be more edgy but ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a review copy of the audiobook version of this, and I'm so glad I got a chance to listen. Anyone who knows the work of Billy Collins knows that the words on the page are only half of it. Hearing or seeing him perform the poems completes the picture. I would describe his tone as half Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy, half a male version of Siri.

In a recent TED talk that Billy Collins did, he showed some of the films made of his poems, featuring his voice. One of my favorites from this
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Billy Collins Dining Alone
by Philip Habecker

If ever I were to come across
Billy Collins dining alone,
or perhaps drinking alone after contemplating Li Po,
the gold of the moment would turn me to living straw.
An open doors breeze dizzying me; unable to knock me over.

Were he to look up, he would find me contemplative, too.
Do I pull out Sailing
and ask for an autograph?
Aware that I may be ripping the conception of life
not just from his mind, but from the world.

Here! Mr. Collins! -Billy!
He sets down
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd

This is a very different sort of review from what I am used to writing. There is no plot to discuss, no characters to analyzethis is something much more indefinite. It is more brief and personal; a plethora of short narratives that unravel differently for each pair of eyes that fall on them. Poetry is an incredibly powerful and emotional type of writing, one that is far more open to individual interpretation than any other. Every work holds a different
Donna Merritt
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it

AIMLESS LOVE is a delight. The first poem hooked me, with the reader getting a print-fix for the day. Of course, Ive been a Billy Collins fan since I stumbled upon his SAILING ALONE AROUND THE ROOM (one of my all-time favorite books of poetry).

Collins has a way of connecting with people on a personal level. Youre tempted to think of it as poetry about ordinary things in plain language, but when you reread a poem, youll see that there are marvelous twists and ways of looking at things in an
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
In an NPR interview, Billy Collins states:
"I'm trying to write poems that involve beginning at a known place, and ending up at a slightly different place," he says. "I'm trying to take a little journey from one place to another, and it's usually from a realistic place, to a place in the imagination."

Collins accomplishes this handily in his newest collection. The poems in Aimless Love are collected from 4 previous books, as well as a sizeable section of new
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Aimless Love by Billy Collins

Collins' poems illuminate the many small mysteries, pleasures, and dilemmas of our ordinary lives, as well as our occasional magical thinking and the power with which we imbue everyday objects.

He's often at his best when describing those quotidian predicaments we find ourselves in and the silly stories we make up to help us move past those moments. One such example is the poem "Quandary" where Collins struggles over what to do with overripe apple that he really
Rob the Obscure
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not much left to say about Collins. He's brilliant, the way he baits us with this charming, and seemingly harmless, humor, and then right at the end we realize we've been shown the light of deep reflection on important things.

The new poems are just great. I remember distinctly as an American kid, digging a hole in the back yard for some reason, and my dad telling me that if you dug a hole deep enough, you would dig all the way through to China. Maybe you have a similar memory? Here's how Collins
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Im always so conflicted about Collins. I often like individual poems, but when I consider his body of work as a whole . . . I find it disappointing. Yes, some of his poems are amusing, or at least cute. A few even clever. Many are too fanciful to be taken seriously. Too many just fall flat. And hes always writing (more or less) the same poem over and over. The poems feel formulaic, humorous without actually being funny (David Orr*) and too often self-congratulatory. As I wrote in my review of ...more
Megan Baxter
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book was an object lesson how much of the experience is not only the words on the page, but all that the reader to them. How much can be changed when the reader has been changed, when experience puts things into new, starker relief.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone & everyone
What can I say about Billy Collins that I haven't already said before? He is a rock star. He is the best living contemporary poet in the world. Listening to him read his poems is even better than reading them myself. No other writer can make me smile as much, laugh as hard, or cry as often as Collins does. Aimless Love is probably his best collection to date. Feel free to hop on over to my blog to see my thoughts there: https://theceaselessreaderwrites.word...
Th imagery and the humor make this collection emotionally moving and endlessly re-readable.
Peycho Kanev
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Sorry, I tried, but I can not bring myself to like him. I think he's overrated.
Cynthia ☮ ❤ ❀
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Review: Aimless Love by Billy Collins
Five out of Five Stars
Expected publication: October 22, 2013

I was introduced to Billy Collins back in the 90s, I gobbled up The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Nine Horses, and The Apple That Astonished Paris, each one a treasure in its own right. Ecstatic, doesn't describe how I felt when I heard that Collins was to release a new volume of poetry, his first since 2011, because in my opinion, Billy Collins is the Pied Piper
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I should start this review by saying that I have never been a fan of poetry until I started reading Billy Collins' work. Poetry always seemed so abstract and I always found myself searching for the "story" in the poem. Then I read Collins' poem, "Introduction to Poetry" and saw that I was looking at the poems all wrong. I started reading more of his work and found myself actually enjoying poetry. Needless to say, I was very happy to receive an advanced copy of this book from the First Reads ...more
Simon Robs
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gosh golly goodness & Godness but these poems are for everyone - sleek, accessible, kindly incisive manna fallen like milky snowflakes to a thirsty world. Now I can pop this open sometime on a hunch that bibliomancy might just provide an answer or question as need be to fashion a way onwards ho.

How's 'bout a selection shall we? You out there Fio, one's for you, all else too:

Irish Poetry

That morning under a pale hood of sky
I heard the unambiguous scrape of spackling
against the side of our
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I always enjoy some Billy Collins poetry, though I didn't love any in this book like those in Picnic, Lightning.
Favorite poems: Velocity, No Time, The Lanyard, Tension (suddenly...), To My Favorite 17 Year Old Girl, The Suggestion Box, Cheerios
Favorite lines: (Royal Aristocrat) "Such deep silence on those nights-just the sound of my typing and a few stars singing a song their mother sang when they were mere babies in the sky."
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though not really a poetry reader by any means, I really enjoyed this collection! Though not all the selections made me laugh or put me in deep thought, I did appreciate how thoughtful they all felt and was pleasantly surprised by how witty he was. Eventually, I'll dive into more of his work and explore this thing called poetry.
Christine Norvell
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a Collins' admirer after I read The Trouble with Poetry because I enjoyed his humor and his playfulness. I am now a Collins' devotee because I know I will frequently reread many in this collection. Simple, clever, everyday observations and sentiment trump epic attempts in my view.
Sharon  Landis
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read a poem a day and it was total joy! Delightful in every way.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Touching, funny, and intricately observed poems. Enjoyable and moving. This collection inspires me to observe the world more carefully and with more forgiveness and with a happy degree of levity.
Grace W
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
(c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) 4.75 Talking with my coworker C.J. about how much I love Collins made me want to revisit some of his work. I grew up reading his poems and his poetry has heavily influenced my tastes. A great mix of funny and poignant, these poems are a great primer for the poet. I love reading them, they fill me up with so much hope always. A great read, even though some of these poems are almost 20 years old.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the Evening

The heads of roses begin to droop.
The bee who has been hauling her gold
all day finds a hexagon in which to rest.

In the sky, traces of clouds,
the last few darting birds,
watercolors on the horizon.

The white cat sits facing a wall.
The horse in the field is asleep on its feet.

I light a candle on the wood table.
I take another sip of wine.
I pick up an onion and a knife.

And the past and the future?
Nothing but an only child with two different masks.
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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.

Articles featuring this book

His Favorite Works of Poetry: The former poet laureate and Goodreads Choice Best Poetry Finalist for the collection Aimless Love offers his top five.
15 likes · 2 comments
“But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow.” 12 likes
“… I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley,
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I am not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.”
More quotes…