Musical Tables: Poems

We rated this book:


The works in Billy Collins’ latest collection Musical Tables: Poems are referred to as “small poems” by the author in the introduction. What they really are, though, is an assortment of puns, obvious observations, and downright pointless musings stretched far too thin. The goal of the book may be to illustrate the poet’s craft even in a smaller form than he typically writes in, but that goal is not met given the pure drivel of these pieces.

In fact, it’s hard to call them poems at all. There is absolutely no way this trash would be published were it not graced with Collins’ name as the author. Ridiculous missives like “The Sunday Times: There’s so much / going on in the world / besides these sausages” aren’t deep or fraught with poignant observation—they are as average as average can be.

As an academic and educator who has studied, written and published poetry for over thirty years, I simply cannot grasp what is of value about this bundle of wasted paper other than the binding is beautiful and the font choice is easily read. There are a few poems that grip the heart; “Headstones,” “A Small Hotel,” and “Deer Hit” are exceptional. But, if Collins is capable of that kind of beauty, then shame on him for burying it in the pile of swill that is the rest of the book.

Reviewed By:

Author Billy Collins
Star Count 1/5
Format Hard
Page Count 176 pages
Publisher Random House Publishing Group
Publish Date 15-Nov-2022
ISBN 9780399589782 Buy this Book
Issue January 2023
Category Poetry & Short Stories