Oh, Billy Collins…

Stephen Colbert, you’re awesome for promoting poetry on your show by interviewing a former poet laureate. Billy Collins, you’re lame for stating during said interview that we don’t really need a poet laureate.  So to clarify, Billy Collins, you 1) twice had the privilege fill the most distinguished position to which a poet can aspire, 2) appeared on the shows of one of the only high-profile television personalities who even attempts to give poetry a platform, and 3) squandered this opportunity by declaring your obsolescence before I wider audience than you likely had during your time as poet laureate.

Billy Collins on The Colbert Report


4 thoughts on “Oh, Billy Collins…

  1. I understand what you are saying, but try not to take anything Billy Collins says too much to heart. He’s usually ironic, and I would expect him to be more so in the format of the Colbert Report. It is not a serious show. Or, it’s a show that says serious things in a non-serious way, often the opposite way of what is expected.

    Granted, it would have been wonderful for Billy to say, “We don’t need a poet laureate in the same way, but. . . ” However, I took the implication to be that whether we need one or not, as the example of the poem they read together at the end shows, poetry is and can be very relevant to our every day lives. Well, that was my take on it at least.

    1. I think you’re right, David. While I come to expect that kind of irony of Stephen Colbert, I shouldn’t expect anything different from a poet who was once called “an ironist of the void.” I have a tendency to react quickly, sometimes, and in doing so can fail to see the macro. The moment ultimately gave a larger voice to poetry. I think your take is solid, sir!

  2. I can relate to quick reactions. I just got extremely excited upon reading a headline that said “Poetry is Mainstream in America.” But when I put my glasses on to read it I was saddened to see that it actually said, “Poverty is Mainstream in America. ”

    I’m enjoying reading your poems, by the way. Congratulations on your latest publication. Going to check that out now.

  3. Pingback: Forgetfulness By Billy Collins | Renard Moreau Presents

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