Sailing Alone Around the Room

Cover of "Sailing Alone Around the Room: ...
Cover via Amazon

By Billy Collins; @ 2001 Random House; 172 pages.

Sailing Alone Around the Room is one of the books I bought when I was on my Billy Collins kick. I’m not sure if Collins is my favorite poet in the whole wide world, but there is no doubt that he is talented. Reading him always gets me in the mood to write, and I envy those who were/are so lucky to have him as a professor. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Sailing Alone Around the Room includes new poems as well as selected poems from The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988), Questions About Angels (1991), The Art of Drowning (1995), and Picnic, Lightning (1998).

The poems out of this book I most responded to were:

  • Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House
  • The Lesson
  • Winter Syntax
  • Advice to Writers
  • Introduction to Poetry
  • Schoolsville
  • Questions About Angels
  • Candle Hat
  • The Dead
  • Vade Mecum
  • Purity
  • Days
  • Workshop
  • Piano Lessons
  • Some Final Words
  • Aristotle

3 thoughts on “Sailing Alone Around the Room”

  1. I was lucky enough to work a writer’s convention at which Billy Collins was a guest. What a guy. My best friend is English, and he is always pulling up videos of Collins off YouTube for me. Don’t have any of his books, but I feel like I should. Thanks for the review.


  2. I honestly didn’t like it at first it seemed to obvious things he just happened to notice during his day but the more I read it over and over (for a required read for class) I started to like some of them. Others are still kind of strange and I don’t quite understand them but I guess re-reading made me want to chuck the book across the room less than when I read the first poem. 🙂 His poems that make fun of writing styles are my favorite.

    I’m just not mature enough to appreciate “Purity” in any way or in any dimension ever. lol


    1. I had the same reaction to a collection of John Ashbery poems. I wanted to light them on fire. Except for two or three, which were ok, I just really hated them.

      Sorry you didn’t like Collins. Maybe he’s just not your style. Who is a favorite poet of yours? (Hope it’s not Ashbery!)


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