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Published on Feb 13, 2007
Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and one of America's best-selling poets, reads his poem "The Best Cigarette" with animation by David Vaio of FAD.
Noted for their intelligent humor, accessibility and observations on daily life, Collins' popular poems come alive further in a series of animated poems produced by JWT-NY.
- - - - - The Poem - There are many that I miss having sent my last one out a car window sparking along the road one night, years ago. The heralded one, of course: after sex, the two glowing tips now the lights of a single ship; at the end of a long dinner with more wine to come and a smoke ring coasting into the chandelier; or on a white beach, holding one with fingers still wet from a swim. How bittersweet these punctuations of flame and gesture; but the best were on those mornings when I would have a little something going in the typewriter, the sun bright in the windows, maybe some Berlioz on in the background. I would go into the kitchen for coffee and on the way back to the page, curled in its roller, I would light one up and feel its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee. Then I would be my own locomotive, trailing behind me as I returned to work little puffs of smoke, indicators of progress, signs of industry and thought, the signal that told the nineteenth century it was moving forward. That was the best cigarette, when I would steam into the study full of vaporous hope and stand there, the big headlamp of my face pointed down at all the words in parallel lines.