Sailing Alone Around the Room, a collection of poetry by Billy Collins, is a generous, playful masterpiece of words, thoughts and musings. As far as poetry goes, it is completely accessible, and is an excellent little gem to pick up and relish if you find yourself in a moment when you are craving a little read, but are too short on time to digest anything longer than a page or so. It is one that’s been on my shelf for nearly a decade, and that I never quite tire of no matter how many times I pluck it down for a spell.
Perhaps my favorite part of this collection is that it was, arguably, my first introduction to truly enjoying poetry (rather than being intimidated, bored or just utterly confused by it). To that end, here’s one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy! xoxo
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
by Billy Collins