Royal Aristocrat By Billy Collins Analysis

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In his poem collection Nine Horses, Billy Collins composes poems in which he portrays himself as a common man, not a successful poet laureate. Describing the art of writing, Collins records three poems ("Royal Aristocrat," "Death in New Orleans, a Romance," and "Writing in the Afterlife") emphasizing the beauty in writing as it "add[s] to the great secretarial din" ("Royal Aristocrat" 26), and showing the transition of writing as an art form from handwritten work to typed pieces. This trio takes on the responsibility of describing the maturing journey of an author, even beyond the grave.
"Royal Aristocrat," the first poem in the writing trio, describes writing as a way to keep busy, adding to the noise of life. Collins shows that futility of silence can be overcome, even when one can only randomly strike keys on a typewriter. The speaker, an older writer content with simply "adding to the great secretarial din" rather than becoming part of the silence, writes from a nostalgic point of view for the majority of the poem. The first three stanzas describe the speaker 's struggle to write quietly,
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"Royal Aristocrat" begins the trio with an aging man, flashing back to his days of rowdy, youthful work and resorting back to pencil and paper in writing poetry. The next of the three poems, "Death in New Orleans, a Romance," continues the account as the man writes in pencil; however, in the end the man dies, "leaving [his] body behind" to transition into the final poem, "Writing in the Afterlife." Here, the commander ushers the speaker into the afterlife, where the master forces the people to chronicle in the never-ending writing process. These three poems account for the journey of a single speaker through a life of literature, showing Collins 's "marriage of a loopy, occasionally surreal imagination... to an ordinary life observed in just a few ordinary words"

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