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The Best Cigarette

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The selected poems of Billy Collins read by the author. 33 poems, over 70 minutes, very high quality recording on cassette or CD.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Cielo Publishing
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Average rating 4.42  · 
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Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
-Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even n
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Let's see if this one is as good as his "live" audio performance. Today, my favorite poem of his is "Litany"

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 just no way you are the pine-scented
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
The title poem and this one are my favorites:


It could be the name of a prehistoric beast
that roamed the Paleozoic earth, rising up
on its hind legs to show off its large vocabulary,
or some lover in a myth who is metamorphosed into a book.

It means treasury, but it is just a place
where words congregate with their relatives,
a big park where hundreds of family reunions
are always being held,
house, home, abode, dwelling, lodgings, and digs,
all sharing the same picnic basket and thermos;
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I wouldn't say Collins is a Dylan Thomas level performer of his work, but these readings are a delightful way to experience his poems. Based on the recordings here, I'd say he's best when in front of an audience. ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a phenomenal audiobook. Bill Collins reads so smoothly, so charmingly. The live audience reactions clearly affect him, you can hear the happiness in his voice as they laugh and sigh and are moved by his poems. Just a gem. I'll be listening to this again. ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fine selection of Billy's poems, as only he can read them. No wonder he was America's Poet Laureate. I always recommend his poems to people who are afraid of poetry. ...more
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The author reads a selection of his poems aloud in this cd, and if I had hand-picked my 33 favorites by him, I'm sure I would have loved it because some of his poems are superb. As it is, this collection contains several poems that I just don't like, although the overall quality is fine. The tracks included on the cd are:

1. another reason I don't keep a gun in the house
2. shoveling snow with the buddha
3. marginalia
4. afternoon with irish cows
5. walking across the atlantic [I like this one]
6. int
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My first encounter with Billy Collins' poetry was a few years back when he came to Austin and on a last minute whim I went to his reading at the Paramount Theater out of curiosity. I had never heard of him, though he was Poet Laureate of the US from 2001 to 2003 (I will admit I couldn't off the top of my head name another other than Robert Frost). That evening was a pure delight.

With that inspiration, I sought out his poetry and found this on The only thing better than listening to
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Poetry is to be listened to. This was my first chance to find a recording of Collins reading his poems. Many were included in Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems, which was very fun along with some new ones.

If you've been challenged by poetry - give this a try.
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Billy Collins fans
Shelves: poetry, humor
This is not quite as good as hearing Billy Collins live, but it is still wonderful. The best thing is that you can download this CD for free on Billy Collins's website. I love the poem "Morning" on this CD. It's very funny. ...more
Maria Maniaci
Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, writing-craft
Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic poems. Collins come up with these metaphors that make you go, Yes, of course. But I think my favorite thing about him is his sense of humor.

You can download this audiobook for free:
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
more poets should have cds of themselves reading their work it is one of may favorite was ys to read/listen to poetry
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Listen to this read by the author!
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
honestly this story or stories had no real impact on me and i've forgotten the majority of what it was about. so, i'll give this a two. i'm sure it wasn't miserable though. ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This audiobook is available for free from Well worth the time it takes to download it! Collins is a former 2-term poet laureate and his poetry is exceptional.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An awesome read that covers a wide range of his material and style, with the added bonus of his voice.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-general
This is the only "book" of modern poetry I ever finished because humor and audio. Which makes me not remotely a deep person, and I own that. ...more
Brian Tucker
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Sep 20, 2018
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Dec 05, 2015
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Feb 15, 2010
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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

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