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The Apple That Astonished Paris

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In 1988 the University of Arkansas Press published Billy CollinsÆs The Apple That Astonished Paris, his ôfirst real book of poems,ö as he describes it in a new, delightful preface written expressly for this new printing to help celebrate both the PressÆs twenty-fifth anniversary and this book, one of the PressÆs all-time best sellers. In his usual witty and dry style, Collins writes, ôI gathered together what I considered my best poems and threw them in the mail.ö After ôwhat seemed like a very long timeö Press director Miller Williams, a poet as well, returned the poems to him in the ôfamiliar self-addressed, stamped envelope.ö He told Collins that there was good work here but that there was work to be done before heÆd have a real collection he and the Press could be proud of: ôWilliamsÆs words were more encouragement than I had ever gotten before and more than enough to inspire me to begin taking my writing more seriously than I had before.ö This collection includes some of CollinsÆs most anthologized poems, including ôIntroduction to Poetry,ö ôAnother Reason Why I DonÆt Keep a Gun in the House,ö and ôAdvice to Writers.ö Its success over the years is testament to CollinsÆs talent as one of our best poets, and as he writes in the preface, ôthis new edition . . . is a credit to the sustained vibrancy of the University of Arkansas Press and, I suspect, to the abiding spirit of its former director, my first editorial father.ö

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