Sunday Poetry: Reading Away from Ourselves

Welcome to Sunday Poetry.   If this is your first visit you can read about the purpose and inspiration of my Sunday poetry blogs here.

This week and last I’ve blogged about old books, so today’s poem is an ode to books written by Billy Collins, the poet who convinced me, after a lecture at Chautauqua Institution two years ago, that I needed to rethink my disinterest in poetry.  From that lecture came this weekly blog and a  year long journey.  

In a side note about that journey?  Recently when the name of a presenters at an upcoming writer’s workshop jumped out at me, I realized just how much I’ve learned since we began here together.  I posted Martin Espada’s poem Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper some time ago, and it’s still one of my very favorites.  I would never have read the poem or known him as a poet, were it not for Sunday Poetry. In the next year I look forward to learning much, much more.

Simply called Books, there’s nothing simple about today’s Billy Collins poem.  What part of your life has revolved around books?  How have they changed you?  Have you experienced the “endless, paneled rooms?”

Remember there are no quizzes here, no right ways to read or contemplate the poem we share.  Absolutely no dissecting allowed.  Just come along for the “read.”  What line, word or thought will you carry with you this week?  If you’d like to tell us where the poem took you?  We’ll listen.


  1. Audrey Bonnell on March 11, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I guess I am in awe. I always thought poems HAD to rhyme, These are so different than I expected a poem to be. Thanks Emilie and is there another name for this type of poem?

    • Emilie Richards on March 11, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Hi Audrey, Here’s a Wikipedia explanation of free verse, which is poetry without consistent meter, rhyme or other musical pattern. Do you think Books qualifies? I also found an interesting explanation of “prose poem” while looking for this for you, and while I don’t think any of the poetry I’ve included here qualifies, I am sure eventually one will show up here, as well. That discussion can be found here:

  2. Lynn Ross - Toledo on March 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I really liked this poem, Emilie! It is probably my favorite so far. And thank you for the links to explanations of poetry/prose. I am old-fashioned and love the rhyming poetry best, but I would like to learn the rules for writing the other kind. Often my own poetry is made awkward because of my desperate attempt to make sure it rhymes. 🙂 But I am never sure if my non-rhyming poetry is “correct.”

    • Emilie Richards on March 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Classes in writing poetry seem to be everywhere. I bet you’d have a ball exploring that and participating in one.

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