BillyCollinsWhile reading my edition of the Books & Culture review published by the same company that publishes Christianity Today, there was an advertisement about an upcoming Conference for Christian Thinkers that intrigued me. It was to be held in Nashville and the guest speakers were Marilynne Robinson and Billy Collins, among others. This was how I discovered the poet Billy Collins, who, in 2001, was named the United States U.S. Poet Laureate. He will be one of the four plenary speakers at the Christian Scholars’ Conference 2009, called “The Power of Narrative” which isJune 25-27, 2009 at Lipscomb University

Collins’ poetry makes the ordinary extraordinary. It makes real life magical. It shows the wonder of the day to day every day.

Here is a poem of his called Flock:

Flock By Billy Collins
It has been calculated that each copy of the Gutenburg Bible
required the skins of 300 sheep.

I can see them
squeezed into the holding pen
behind the stone building
where the printing press is housed.

All of them squirming around
to find a little room
and looking so much alike
it would be nearly impossible to count them.

And there is no telling which one of them
will carry the news
that the Lord is a Shepherd,
one of the few things
they already know.

and here’s another:

Invention By Billy Collins

Tonight the moon is a cracker,
with a bite out of it
floating in the night,

and in a week or so
according to the calendar
it will probably look

like a silver football,
and nine, maybe ten days ago
it reminded me of a thin bright claw.

But eventually —
by the end of the month,
I reckon —

it will waste away
to nothing,
nothing but stars in the sky,

and I will have a few nights
to myself,
a little time to rest my jittery pen.

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