Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Critical Review of the 2008 Winner of the Yale Younger Poet's Prize, Arda Collins' "It is Daylight"

The window was a little smudged.

I was too lazy to clean it.

I wondered if Billy Collins would be happy,

looking out Arda Collins’s window. I wonder a lot of dumb things.

I wonder if people think Arda Collins is Billy Collins’ daughter.

I know they’re not even if their poems don’t mind sitting next to each other.

Arda and Billy look out a lot of windows and never raise their voices.

I have the best memories when I stare at birdcages.

Once a next door neighbor I knew had a dog.

Wherever I lived, someone happened to have a dog.

One dog I knew ate avocados with its mouth open.

I liked animals who have tics.

I think Arda’s poems are a cross between Billy Collins and Louise Gluck.

They all share some of the same tics.

Gluck’s main influence is the DSM IV sourcebook.

I think she paraphrases whole passages onto a notepad.

They later become the introductions for the Yale Younger Poets’ books.

I think I forgot to name one of Arda’s influences.

I think when I opened my window, it flew out.

No one's dog caught it.

I think an influence is an inherited tic.

I think an influence is like an avocado. It’s all there

in front of your eyes. You better like the color green.

Is it bad that I may be claiming Arda’s poems are a hybrid

of Billy Collins , Gluck, and an avocado?

I still believe I left an influence out.

As a critic, I try not to put you in a bird cage.

I want to help the artist fly away and not aim and fire,

or if I do, not too readily

or without reason. An avocado really is a pretty green.

I want Arda to look out more windows, see things other than dumb dogs

and avocados. I want Arda to know she doesn't need to act

as if she Billy Collins' hip, morbid, even more deadpan daughter.

She needs to stop looking out his window,

disappointed and not disappointed he looms behind her.

It doesn’t matter.

Sometimes you need to smash a window as much as a birdcage.

I like to think Arda may believe things should change even if you may be happy

knowing you found the perfect predictable smudge that everyone will love.


  1. This critique reads like a poem.It seems appropriate to use poetry to discuss poetry.

  2. Where is Chelsea Minnis? I loved her ghost baby book. Great poem. I love this part:
    "Is it bad that I may be claiming Arda’s poems are a hybrid/of Billy Collins , Gluck, and an avocado?"
    Perhaps this is the direction poetry should be going (re: note to Matthea Harvey).