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Bright Wings


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction John James Audubon Loons Mating Drifting Off Mother Carey's Hen The Birds Pelican The Magnificent Frigatebird The Frigate Pelican The Blue Booby The Heron Hope and Love On the Sight of Swans in Kensington Gardens On the Marriage of Friends Swan and Shadow Wild Geese The Teal From Woody's Restaurant, Middlebury Still, Citizen Sparrow To a Farmer Who Hung Five Hawks on His Barbed Wire Evening Hawk You and I Saw Hawks Exchanging the Prey from The Parliament of Fowls Peregrine Falcon, New York City Make-Falcon The Dalliance of Eagles Pheasant A Bird at the Leather Mill The Coot Plover Shorebird-Watching On a 31/2 oz. Lesser Yellow Legs, Departed Boston August 28, Shot Martinique September 3 Sandpiper The Ballet of the Fifth Year Seagulls The Kittiwake After Reading Peterson's Guide Lost Parrot The Contrast; The Parrot and the Wren The Great Horned Owl A Barred Owl To a Captive Owl An Owl Great Grey Owl The Owl The Owl Chimney Swifts Swifts Swifts Humming-Bird The Kingfisher The Kingfisher The Woodpecker Keeps Returning The Woodpecker Arts of Joy Black Phoebe The Shrike Still Missing the Jays Magpie's Song Paired Things The Calves Not Chosen The Crows Start Demanding Royalties The Questions Poems Ask Ravens at Deer Creek The Ravens of Denali Ode to the Swallow The Swallow The Emperor's Bird's-Nest Watching the Swallows from The Princess; O Swallow Home-Thoughts, from Abroad Cliff Swallows The Blue Swallows December Notes In Walden wood the chickadee Titmouse The Bluebirds The Darkling Thrush Thrushes I have a Bird in spring Love's Good-Morrow To Robin Red-Breast Poor Cock Robin The Death of Lesbia's Bird Of the Air Cedar Waxwings Cedar Waxwing on Scarlet Firethorn Song A Warbler Annoucing Spring at Morning The Happy Bird Bird Watching The Cardinal Cardinals in a Shower at Union Square A Pair of Tanagers Brave Sparrow Love Song Christmas Sparrow Sparrow Trapped in the Airport Partita for Sparrows Visitiation Old Acquaintance The Call of the Junco Bird Redwing Blackbirds Red-Winged Blackbirds The Birds Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Keeping track Grackles Rose-Breasted Grosbeak The Faithful Friend The Caged Goldfinch For the Birds: A Charm of Goldfinches Rara Avis Index of Poets and Poems Index of Birds

Promotional Information

In this beautiful collection of poems and paintings, former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins joins with David Allen Sibley, America's foremost bird illustrator, to celebrate the winged creatures that have inspired so many poets to sing for centuries. From Catullus and Chaucer to Robert Browning and James Wright, poets have long turned to birds as powerful metaphors for beauty, escape, transcendence, and divine expression. Here, in this substantial anthology, more than one hundred contemporary and classic poems are paired with close to sixty original, ornithologically-precise illustrations. Part poetry collection, part field guide, part art book, Bright Wings offers verbal and visual interpretations of the natural world and reminds us of our intimate connection to the "bright wings" around us. Each in their own way, these poems and pictures honor the enchanting creatures that have been, and continue to be, longtime collaborators with the poet's and painter's art.

About the Author

Billy Collins is Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College and the author of eight books of poetry, including Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry: and Other Poems, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the World, and Questions About Angels, which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has served two terms as the poet laureate of the United States, along with one term as New York State Poet. Collins divides his time between New York and Winter Park, Florida. David Allen Sibley has spent most of his life traveling across North America, studying and drawing the natural world. With the National Audubon Society, he published The Sibley Guide to Birds in 2004 and The Sibley Guide to Trees in 2009. He lives with his family in Concord, Massachusetts, and his work can be viewed at


An intelligent assembly of poems that take us places where prose cannot go... This little book is a reminder that everything important about birds can't be found in guide books or scientific papers. -- Jim Williams Minneapolis Star Tribune What's not to love? Birder's World Part poetry anthology, part field guide, Bright Wings is a delight. -- Isabel Nathaniel Dallas Morning News An elegant little compilation. Des Moines Register A beautiful anthology. -- Jim Higgins Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Collins & Sibley] have created a veritable jeweled music box... sure to appeal to birdlovers and poetry fans alike.The West Australian The West Australian Whether metaphorical or purely observational, the verses provide a wealth of details and, as a group, form a literary guide to the behavior of bird and birder. -- Adam Levine Country Gardens Rarely has poetry and art been so deftly partnered... A truly impressive anthology. The Midwest Book Review Collins has done his homework, ponying up those who should never be forgotten nor hidden away in an English Lit syllabus. The Folio A reminder that everything important about birds can't be found in guide books or scientific papers. -- Jim Williams Star Tribune

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