"The Lanyard" by Billy Collins


Dictionary.com defines popularity as “the favor of the general public or of a particular group of people”. From that definition Billy Collins can be considered immensely popular. He is so popular that colleges are using his poetry as summer assignments to not only

stimulate the mind but can also tickle a person’s funny bone. He is a genius without a doubt but if I were to base his entire popularity based on the poem “The Lanyard”, I would say he is a failure.

Is the poem clever? Absolutely. In my opinion however, most individuals would not be able to grasp the subtleties that he creates in the poem “The Lanyard”. Although I understood his small ironic truths about life like how his mother gave him life and in return he gives her a lanyard, I could not see myself going to see him live or paying to get a copy of his works. Although this may sound harsh, I find Billy Collin’s humor dry as well as too “smarty” for me to enjoy.

Billy Collins reminds me of the actor Woody Allen, someone I simply cannot enjoy listening to or watching. Like Billy Collins, Woody Allen in his play “Don’t Drink the Water” also uses subtle jokes and dry humor that to me simply are “not funny”. Billy Collins small jabs at life’s quirks can be funny to some but from what I have noticed from the general consensus of students around me, he isn’t “popular” in the sense of the definition. The poem “The Lanyard” is very clever and it peaked some interest in me but I could not fully grasp all of Mr. Collin’s ideas. This is how I feel about Billy Collins and the poem “The Lanyard”.

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