Collins will open with something ordinary, pour you a taste that slides down easily, and decant you somewhere profound. He himself says his poems begin in Kansas and end in Oz. Magic. A New Yorker reviewer says his unmistakable voice brings together plain speech and imaginative wonder. I welcome plain speech for an immediate way in, a sense of connection, an invitation. With imaginative wonder we win a look behind the curtain, a breathtaking experience, an opening of our throats exhaling to ahhhhh.
As we glide along with him from ordinary to extraordinary, his effortless grace turns water into wine, words into worlds. He also presents an openness to whatever’s next, expressed in these lines from the title poem:
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
This is transforming — a heart propped up — prepared to receive whatever is coming at it, resting sturdily on three legs, standing on higher ground, willingly allowing the next pierce. This is love, the power of God alive on earth.