4 bestselling poetry books to celebrate National Poetry Month

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2. "Horoscopes for the Dead," by Billy Collins

Billy Collins’s Horoscopes for the Dead, which was No. 1 the week of March 18th, raises very different questions. In this collection, his ninth, Collins – a former poet laureate of the United States – explores various facets of time, morality, and death. His musings, which are darker and lighter by turn, begin with his opening poem, in which he stands at his parents’ grave and asks what they think of his new glasses. Some readers won’t enjoy that edgy humor, or his suggestion later in the book that the dead make room for the living. Yet many of the poems will please, as when he describes a globe he received, or his reaction in “Good News,” after learning that his dog does not have cancer. After that phone call, he explains, “everything took on a different look/ and appeared to be better than it usually is.”

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