For the past two weeks, I’ve read Billy Collins’ Aimless Love cover-to-cover. I’ve stuck slips of paper in pages to mark my favorite poems. The book is an emotional catalog, and from the first entry to the last word, I was absorbed. Comprised of selections from four previous books, and fifty-some new poems, Aimless Love is a compilation of moments and questions, most jovial but some carrying heart-breaking seriousness. What I found most haunting and beautiful about the book of poetry was how throughout selections from Nine Horses (2002), The Trouble with Poetry (2005), Ballistics (2008), and Horoscopes for the Dead (2011), the passage of time can be felt, as if one can sense Collins’ aging through the index of poetry.
I have never been much for poetry. But I can recognize a work of magnitude when I see it. Aimless Love is a careful, fragile reminder of what makes poetry beautiful. I encourage you even if you too have never been much for poetry – take a few minutes of your life to read this book. Open yourself to it, and perhaps it will open itself to you.
The author of Aimless Love, Billy Collins, served as a two-term U.S. Poet Laureate. He will be visiting Rollins College in November of this year to give a public reading of Aimless Love. Mr. Collins is Senior Distinguished Fellow of Winter Park Institute and a resident of Winter Park.