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The Rain in Portugal: Poems

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,080 ratings  ·  380 reviews

From former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins comes a twelfth collection of poetry offering nearly fifty new poems that showcase the generosity, wit, and imaginative play that prompted The Wall Street Journal to call him America's favorite poet.

The Rain in Portugal, a title that admits he's not much of a rhymer, sheds Collins's ironic light on such subjects as travel and ar

ebook, 160 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Random House
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Lori Widmer Bean Besides absolutely loving it? My best shot:

Poetry stitches and mends her work separate from her tailor, the poet. Poetry is that vehicle that brings r…more
Besides absolutely loving it? My best shot:

Poetry stitches and mends her work separate from her tailor, the poet. Poetry is that vehicle that brings richness to all things in an economy of words.

The bell over the door was a great twist. I'm interpreting it two ways: in one interpretation, I'm seeing the bell as ideas that are flowing in and out or the poems themselves (her children). In another, I see the poetry readers being the customers, and the tear in Pride is criticism. The gold button -- wow. That's a great image for accolades or awards or accomplishments, isn't it? (less)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,080 ratings  ·  380 reviews

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Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book, poetry, 2017
Billy Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003; officially the title is Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. At present, that title belongs to Tracy K. Smith. “ The Rain in Portugal ” is his twelfth collection of poetry, but the first collection of his that I’ve read.

His writing is whimsical, imaginative and accessible. His topics range from far away places, to cats and dogs, from life and death to art and rock ‘n roll stars, from love to feelings that are
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sumptuous Collection of New Poems from Esteemed Poet Billy Collins

A sumptuous collection of new poems from Billy Collins, a lifelong New Yorker (from an Irish/Canadian family) who was Poet Laureate for the U.S. from 2001 to 2003.

I love his irresistibly rustic poetry that is nearly as accessible as it is poignant.

My favorites included:


The ruins were taking their time falling apart,
stones that once held up other stones
now scattered on top of one another

as if many centuries had to pass
Julie Ehlers
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-library, poetry
I was in the poetry section of my local branch of the public library and I noticed they had a full complement of books by Billy Collins. It had been a while since I'd read a collection of his, and suddenly nothing sounded more refreshing, like the literary equivalent of stepping under a waterfall or drinking a tall glass of grapefruit-flavored San Pellegrino. I decided to go with his most recent collection, and it did not disappoint. As in most of his books, Collins here deals with such topics a ...more
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Another lovely collection, especially the third part. My favorite poems were The Present, Joy, Bags of Time, A Day in May, On Rhyme, Meditation, and Solvitur Ambulando.

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Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to fight myself to not devour these poems in one sitting. Usually poetry feels like more of a chore for me, but Billy Collins is the constant exception. He turns tiny moments into such beauty and thoughtfulness. He was the perfect emotional balm for me this week.

My favorites were his imaginings about having siblings or if his mother we're still alive because those had such depth of emotion for just a few lines.

Sweet, short, smart perfection.
Jon Nakapalau
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Honest and deeply insightful - Billy Collins is a master of the extraordinary in everyday life.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Billy Collins is that oddity in America: He is a poet and he is a popular poet. Somehow he doesn't disappoint anyone. He is able to be clever and and fresh and wise and profound and funny. He is a delight.

Billy Collins may be the only person saving poetry from popular death. He is magnificent. Try him. Even if high school English class killed your desire to ever read a poem again.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
If you are unfamiliar with Billy Collins, go watch these two videos before reading my review or making a judgment based on the somewhat strange cover:
"Aimless Love"

Once you hear Collins read with his sardonic tone, you always have to hear his poems in that same dry manner or they will not make as much sense. So do please indulge me.

This was a great new collection, but after getting to listen to his previous collection in audio, I think you just can't do as much justice to it in print. Th
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Little nuggets of gold!
Just loved these poems so quirky and thought provoking.

Rachel (Kalanadi)
Easy to read in one gulp, very friendly, and utterly forgettable unfortunately. I thought vaguely that I might read some more by Collins... until the last few poems included one on pissing outside at a party (um, why? because we clearly need a poem from the perspective of someone taking a leak in the bushes?) and one that's frankly really not nice about people with anxiety. So... *shrugs* Glad I finally tried his poetry but I think that's enough for me. ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard Billy Collins read for the first time this past July (2019) at the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh, Northern Ireland. He was the main attraction at their evening poetry reading. Collins loves Ireland and the Irish love him. He had gotten married the day before but showed up for his eager audience. Collins writes whimsical (I considered looking for another word because I imagine it has been overused to describe his work) poems that appeal to many who think they don’t lik ...more
Micah Cummins
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to come
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the opening poem, 1960, I was drawn into the writing and style delivered by Collins. 1960 centers on the ambient sounds in those live recordings of music...named in particular here is a man's cough, so well known that it becomes a part of the song like a note being played.

It's as if Collins speaks a language called Poetry and it's so accessible, translatable, and conversational, you didn't realize you spoke it, as well. Some of the poems are quietly thoughtful, but many are injected with c
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesy

I love Billy Collins: his unpretentious but evocative language, his light but subtly existential tones, his exactitude and thoughtfulness. I feel bad for him sometimes, partially because he's been so successful. It must suck to have had to have been the Poet Laureate of George W Bush, for instance, and for all the public exposure, people thinking the poems are just there to be laughed with, funny though they often are. It's not always easy to be considered "America's favorite poet" I'd bet.

Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 2016, The Rain in Portugal finds Billy Collins still looking out at a nice day or looking at his cat. Sometimes he is still irritated by his students or cold weather, but these are mostly cozy and charming poems written in a wry style and that sometimes yield a sort of boyish wonder.

What makes Collins stand out from other poets? I suspect that nearly all poets are expressive and many are wry or charming. Perhaps what sets Collins apart is his imagination and how he uses it to genera
I saw that look that you gave me, Billy Collins, when I said nothing as you signed my book. It was the look of someone trying to puzzle out an anecdote from the moment (or probably a poem, in your case). I could have blathered on about how my students used to always discover that they liked poetry after I introduced them to you. But I was sure you’d heard it before. However, it seemed that perhaps you still needed to satisfy your curiosity about those of us in the crowd who weren’t of the wholly ...more
John of Canada
Mostly wonderful.There were so many similarities to Roger Rosenblatt that I started thinking "I know why you have never seen them together".One of the (few)complaints about Collin's work is that the structure of his poems are similar to each other.You could say that about most poets.It's like some people complaining about prose dialogue that doesn't have quotation marks.Rules,rules rules. ...more
Laura Carroll
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"What a brazen wonder to be alive on earth/ amid the clockwork of all this motion!" ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could spend weeks reading and re-reading these poems. Part 3 was definitely my favorite.
Nadine Jones
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I was not prepared for how funny these poems would be!
I'm a simple person.  Any poet who can write about a cat's butt-hole has me charmed.

Lucky Cat
It's a law as immutable as the ones
governing bodies in motion and bodies at rest
that a cat picked up will never stay
in the place where you choose to set it down.

I bet you'd be happy on the sofa
or this hassock or this knitted throw pillow
are a few examples of bets you are bound to lose.

The secret of winning, I have found,
is to never bet against the ca
Elizabeth R
So disappointing, a true 2.5 book of neutral. I want to be moved by poetry, and while I found this fine in its way, it was not at all profound to me. Undoubtedly part of the problem is that 95% of these poems are formatted similarly, with 3, 4 or 5 phrase stanzas for a page to a page and a half. Nothing wrong with that, except at book length, it gets repetitous and then the poems start to feel equally repetitious. I pulled out the one about the dogs, Species, but mostly because as a former dog o ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, netgalley
3.5 stars, 7 out of 10

I have read several poems by Billy Collins previously, and have also heard him performing some (online), so I was interested in reading this, his latest volume of poetry (to be published in October 2016).

There were more than 50 poems in this collection. I read all of them, and 20 of them more than once.

My favourites of them were ' Hendrik Goltzius's "Icarus" (1588)' (with its links to W.H. Auden's poem "Musée des Beaux Arts'), 'Portrait', and 'The Day After Tomorrow' (with
Anna Kay
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People think of poetry and they think of grand, sweeping epics & stanzas that you have to stare at forever to decipher anything resembling sense or meaning. I enjoy Billy Collins because he talks to his readers about stuff so ordinary it should be dull as dirt, yet it's not and there is a lot to be gained from it. He paints a picture that is so familiar, you can see it like you're looking at something you've seen a million times, like Mona Lisa. One of my favorites:

Many Moons

The thinnest of sliv
Scott Pomfret
Better Rainstorms

Billy Collins is his usual, offhand self here, but the effort appears mailed in. It's like he decided that not only may we reject formalism, but also any pretense to quality. A thin submission.

That said, his elegiac homage to a male piss was brilliant (if also aware of its audience):

It’s very peaceful pissing under the stars or beneath the mild colors of twilight, so refreshing to take a deep breath outdoors then exhale all the woes of the day and even the longer woes and thorn
J.D. Estrada
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice relaxed collection of poetry that often made me smile with its randomness. If you're looking for deep metaphors or rhyme schemes, this isn't the collection for you. If however you like curious phrasing, life observations, and little slices of modern day relatable real life, this collection might be great for you.

I found it relaxing, friendly, never intense although at times poignant. The only distraction was line spacing to divide poems into three line stanzas for ease of legibility more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Poetry for people who generally don't give a flying fart for poems. Or for people who like cats.

I love that Collins doesn't try to obscure his meaning. The premises of his poems are often simple observances, but they stick with you for their humor or because they have a way of flipping an everyday situation on its head.

However, every now and then, he sneaks in a wistful poem that speaks to the impermanence of life, and these were my favorites. Yet it's the volume as a whole that makes him my n
Joshua Henreckson
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first proper exposure to Collins. This collection is accessible, grounded, often lovely, and sometimes surprising and/or funny. Collins has an endearing way of finding depth and angst in mundane moments--endearing especially because he's usually too self aware and sincere to come across as pretentious. A few of the poems in this book are delightful to read aloud. Collins has a great sense of rhythm and sound even in his most conversational poems.

My favorites: Greece, Money Note, The Present,
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, literary
When I think of poetry I often think of Renaissance writers, the kind where you have to struggle with the flowery language to crack the code of intent. But Billy Collins makes poetry accessible, relatable. He conjures modern day situations and twists them in unexpectedly delightful ways, sometimes funny or sad or weirdly irreverent, but always with perfect frankness.
Shelby M. (Read and Find Out)
I felt pretty neutral about this collection. There were some pieces that I really enjoyed, and a lot that I didn't feel very much about. ...more
Ray Zimmerman
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Billy Collins brings humor and vibrant life to his poems. He is the poet I recommend to those who say that they don’t really get poetry, especially those who say they wish they did. Collins is gifted at playing with words and concepts and often turns familiar phrases on their head. The title of the volume appears only in the text of the poem “Rhyme.” Which takes well known phrases that rhyme and presents variants which do not. Readers may recognize by its absence the phrase from a popular musica ...more
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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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