Billy Collins: A few people have said, “Well, this new poet is kind of imitating you,” but I never see it. I think it’s like when someone says “That person over there looks a lot like you.” You never see that yourself because you don’t think you look like what the first person thought you looked like. So I don’t really recognize these influences. I don’t know. Insofar as my poetry, it’s not difficult. It’s readable. It follows the etiquette of a sentence. If you know English, you can step into the poem without any initial problems. I see them as courtesies, because I see willfully obscure poetry as simply a kind of verbal rudeness which begins by ignoring the reader.
It’s like being in a room with someone and they’re just ignoring you. They’re looking out the window or looking at their shoes. So I suppose in that sense I’ve brought a few people back to poetry who had been scared away from it by teachers and by the rigors of school, of the way poetry is handled in school.