Billy Collins is one of the world's most popular poets. While his poems often begin in the everyday and domestic, fans know that they might end anywhere - and that they will lift their heads from the book to a world startlingly different from the one they had left moments before. Billy Collins' previous collection, "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes", was an extraordinary success, introducing thousands of readers to his exhilarating poetry for the first time. By turns wildly funny and intensely moving, "Nine Horses" looks set to win Billy Collins even more admirers. 'Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets in the world' - Carol Ann Duffy. 'Delightfully direct, he won't lose you in his lyricism but will transport you to a better place' - "The Times".
In Nine Horses, Billy Collins, U.S. poet laureate and author of the bestselling collection Sailing Alone Around the Room, attempts to find beauty in simplicity, but ends up achieving the simply banal. Some poems, such as "Rooms" and "Obituaries," in which readers are given freedom to draw their own conclusions, are memorable, but the language in Nine Horses has little music and thoughts are plainly stated. Animals (mostly mice and little birds) populate this sentimental journey, and they are nearly always personified, resulting in poems that sometimes read like the verse equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade print. Collins's use of the vernacular can be burdensome ("and you are certainly not the pine-scented air. / There is no way you are the pine-scented air"), but some readers may find comfort (a haven perhaps) in the author's warm, safe world. Billy Collins has become an immensely popular poet, and though Nine Horses may remain less than inspiring, its poems are certain not to offend. --Michael Ferch