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Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry | Official Trailer | MasterClass

January 24, 2020

[MUSIC PLAYING] You should probably read
all your poems out loud. Dogs are very good
to read poetry to. Cats, not so much. Fish are good. If you have a goldfish, your
first audience before you send your poetry
out into the world. [MUSIC PLAYING] Poetry does not need a story. That’s not what its function is. Poetry makes a lot
of people tense. You speak English, this
poem is in English, and yet you have no
idea what it means. A lot of poetry begins as a
secret and covert activity. So poetry is sort of a diary
without the lock, a diary that you want people to read. [MUSIC PLAYING] A poem often has two subjects,
the starting subject and then the discovered subject. “I was as sure as a boy could
be that this useless, worthless thing I wove out
of boredom would be enough to make us even.” The poem wants to
leave the object and go beyond it into
something greater. This is what poets are paid for,
I mean, to like look at clouds, watch chipmunks. Someone has to keep an
eye on these things. I like to make a real mess. I like to doodle,
cross things out. I try to write a
good line, and then another good line,
and another good line. But no one’s a
good line machine, so there’s a lot of
staring involved. Poetry provides us with a
history of the human heart. If you trace it back to the
oldest poems we can find, the emotions are the same. Underneath it all, we’re
all after the same thing. When you read something
back that it just has your mark on it,
no one else could have written that but you. This voice is just
yours, and yours alone. I’m Billy Collins, and
this is my MasterClass. [MUSIC PLAYING]


  • Reply Mustafa Özgür Okuyucu April 13, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Not good like the chess one but enough

  • Reply Debarath Das April 16, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Now I sit down at the desk, ready to begin.
    I am entirely pure: nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter.
    ~Billy Collins, Purity

  • Reply carl.oh April 16, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    This is what poets are paid for. I mean to look at Clouds, watch chipmunks, someone has to keep an eye on these things.“
    Fantastic quote 😀

  • Reply EEN63 April 17, 2019 at 2:15 am

    Love his sense of humor… and his delivery! Fabulous!

  • Reply GunsNScoop April 17, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Who's the composer behind the song in the background?

  • Reply William Rayburn April 18, 2019 at 2:56 am

    How does one strike so much inspiration from…”there’s a lot of staring involved”. I mean, really?? Maybe out of context, maybe less than brilliant… but at least that is probably just …..honest. I must admit, not sold on this one.

  • Reply ruma sinha April 21, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Poetries are that real tht you can express your felling to any one but you are explain properly
    Peotries are my peace😊❤❤❤

  • Reply MasterClass May 14, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    You can enroll in Billy's MasterClass at:

  • Reply Nicole Poon June 10, 2019 at 6:35 am

    What were the background music?

  • Reply CC DeVille July 5, 2019 at 3:49 am

    My type of poetry blows his completely out of the water and I've never spent one second in a poetry class.

  • Reply Mitchell Ndlovu July 8, 2019 at 2:06 am

    He's funny

  • Reply K.C. Roberts July 24, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Sound that an octopus makes when he has diarrhea…

  • Reply Hala Rammal September 17, 2019 at 11:21 am

    To the people who took the course, is worth the money? I don't have enough money to buy the whole thing but I really want to take the poetry one…

  • Reply Back Bay Man52 November 22, 2019 at 1:09 am

    I've read four of Billy's poetry books. He's too safe and milquetoast toast for my taste, but there are moments he does surprise me. I guess I like tension and conflict in my poetry. But I respect his work. You don't become a poet laureate, without having some talent.

  • Reply Karla York December 3, 2019 at 4:39 am

    Cats, not so much? My cat LOVES to be read to, whether my own writing or a novel I'm reading. He's less interested in most non-fiction.

  • Reply AA Productions December 4, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    So, here's what I gather from your words: We tend to think that we're all different because we have different experiences and such, but what poetry does, is it removes those individual differences, and shows that the underlying root of it all is all the same, i.e. we are all human beings having a human experience and journey that we call life. It teaches you how to have empathy even if you are not going through the exact same thing as someone else, because ultimately what's behind it all is the same. We've all experienced sadness, joy, frustration, fear, love, happiness, excitement, meaning, etc.. Regardless of the individual stories, the root experiences are all the same. Poetry teaches you to look beyond the individual case, and see how it can be applied to many cases and different situations, and so that you can take out from it the common denominators of what applies to many things in life. Poetry is literally the common denominators of life, i.e. the things that apply to much more than one specific case.

  • Reply Self Elements December 8, 2019 at 12:19 am

    0:25 "Poetry is a diary you want people to read."

  • Reply ladybugmerringue December 21, 2019 at 6:26 am


  • Reply Lim January 13, 2020 at 12:47 am

    "Poetry is sort of a diary without the lock."
    "Poetry provides us with a history of the human heart."
    "This voice is just yours, and yours alone."

    Da*m loving these few lines here.

    As a language aficionado, poetry and lyrics in a foreign language always drag me to working on it, though sometimes I failed to make progress ( e.g. Spanish). The beauty of mysterious aesthetics in a unknown language rhyme is hard to resist and can't be fully translated. I don't know much about poems in English. But I do love Chinese and Japanese ancient poetry.
    Glad watching this tailor.

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