Review of Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds

This compact little volume would make a great gift for your birding and non-birding friends alike. Although there are only a few shopping days left until Christmas, you still have time to pick up this great gift. The poems in this anthology are selected by Billy Collins, who served as poet laureate of the United States. The illustrator, David Allen Sibley, will, of course, be familiar to birders. (Ever heard of Sibley’s Guides to Birds?)

The poems in this volume (more than 100 of them) don’t appear to be organized in any particular order, and you won’t find biographies of any of the poets listed here. What you will find is an enjoyable little book that you can pick up at any time and flip to any poem. That’s the way I read this volume. I was pleased to find poems by some of my favorite poets, including William Carlos Williams. Many of the names are recognizable to most readers (Dickinson, Wordsworth, Keats), but many of the poets might be less familiar. They range from 18th Century poets to modern-era poets, from Britain and the U.S. One of my favorite poems in the book is “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens.

Sibley’s paintings can be found alongside many of the poems, complete with descriptive captions, adding a very enjoyable element to the anthology.

This book would make a great gift for anyone on your shopping list (I know that many of us are not done with our shopping yet!) Or get it for yourself. You don’t have to know a lot about poetry–or birds– to find enjoyment in reading these poems.

Disclosure: we were given a copy of this wonderful book by the publisher to review. However, we were not persuaded to say or do anything other than give an honest review, which we have.

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