Billy Collins was born in New York City in 1941. He is the author of several books of poetry, including Nine Horses (Random House, 2002); Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Questions About Angels (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).
This Poem is one of his recent works.
Take a listen:
In this poem he is scornfully and cynically mocking the lack of achievement of, I guess, his 17-year-old daughter, comparing the achievements of historically very accomplished youths like Jane Grey, Judy Garland and Joan of Arc to the 17 year old’s strong inclination to playing with her food and her hair.
I found this to be a very gentle and humorous way to challenge under achieving teenagers. Instead of having those uncalled for screaming matches. You can listen to this with your teenager and just let Billy do the talking… they will get the point he’s making.
What about you – what’s your take?