The Rain in Portugal

The Rain in Portugal

by Billy Collins


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins comes a twelfth collection of poetry offering over fifty new poems that showcase the generosity, wit, and imaginative play that prompted The Wall Street Journal to call him “America’s favorite poet.”
The Rain in Portugal—a title that admits he’s not much of a rhymer—sheds Collins’s ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. His tones range from the whimsical—“the dogs of Minneapolis . . . / have no idea they’re in Minneapolis”—to the elegiac in a reaction to the death of Seamus Heaney. A student of the everyday, Collins here contemplates a weather vane, a still life painting, the calendar, and a child lost at a beach. His imaginative fabrications have Shakespeare flying comfortably in first class and Keith Richards supporting the globe on his head. By turns entertaining, engaging, and enlightening, The Rain in Portugal amounts to another chorus of poems from one of the most respected and familiar voices in the world of American poetry.
Praise for The Rain in Portugal
“Nothing in Billy Collins’s twelfth book . . . is exactly what readers might expect, and that’s the charm of this collection.”The Washington Post
“This new collection shows [Collins] at his finest. . . . Certain to please his large readership and a good place for readers new to Collins to begin.”Library Journal
“Disarmingly playful and wistfully candid.”Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812982688
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/17/2017
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 365,624
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.35(d)

About the Author

Billy Collins is the author of twelve collections of poetry including The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. A former Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York, Collins served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and as New York State Poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Florida with his wife Suzannah.


Somers, New York

Date of Birth:

March 22, 1941

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Holy Cross College, 1963; Ph.D. in Romantic poetry, University of California at Riverside, 1971

Read an Excerpt


From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents


1960 3

Lucky Cat 5

Only Child 7

The Night of the Fallen Limb 9

Greece 11

Basho in Ireland 12

Not So Still Life 14

Cosmology 16

Dream Life 18

Hendrik Goltzius's "Icarus" (1588) 20

The Money Note 22

Helium 24

Weathervane 26

Species 27

The Bard in Flight 29

Sirens 31

Predator 33

Traffic 34

Sixteen Years Old, I Help Bring in the Hay on My Uncle John's Farm with Two French-Canadian Workers 35

The Present 36


On Rhyme 41

The Five Spot, 1964 42

2128 43

Bags of Time 45

One Leg of the Journey 47

A Restaurant in Moscow 49

Tanager 51

Santorini 52

Bravura 54

Muybridge's Lobsters 56

Portrait 58

Early Morning 60

Child Lost at the Beach 62

In Praise of Ignorance 64

Microscopic Pants 65

Many Moons 67

Note to J. Alfred Prufrock 69

Speed Walking on August 31, 2013 70

December 1st 71


Genuflection 75

Thanksgiving 77

Under the Stars 79

Mister Shakespeare 81

The Influence of Anxiety: a Term Paper 83

Goats 85

The Day After Tomorrow 87

A Day in May 89

The Lake 91

Solvitur Ambulando 92

Fire 94

Bachelorette Party 96

Oh, Lonesome Me 97

Meditation 99

Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language 101

What a Woman Said to Me After a Reading in the Napa Valley 103

Joy 104

Acknowledgments 107

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