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Thinking Makes It So: A lesson on how to write poetry

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By Kelly LeVan

A woman with long silver hair – silver like unicorns, not bracelets – jumped to feet, shouting and clapping her hands above her head. She might have been crazy, I really don’t know. She was enthusiastic. The rest of us remained seated. But while she jumped and screamed compliments toward the podium, we clapped.

A lot.

Like you would after a great bit of stand-up comedy.

Like you would after a particularly rousing line at a political rally.

This was unlike any other poetry reading I’ve ever attended.

Some 200-300 of us crowded into the placita at St. John’s College Friday night to hear former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins read his work. It was a balmy, breezy evening, and the mountains behind us seemed to brighten as the sky darkened. Collins stood in front of the college library, the enormous white pillars framing him as he said he’d begin with poems about the behavior of poets.

A self-depreciating giggle hummed through the audience.


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