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Reading, [Billy] Collins answered — lots and lots of reading. He cited Malcolm Gladwell’s famous “10,000 hours” benchmark as a good standard.

“It’s such dull advice. There’s no key to it,” he said. “It really lies in the simple act of reading tons of poetry. And I mean not just stuff you find in magazines but if you really want to be trained in poetry you need to read Milton — you need to read Paradise Lost. You need to read Wordsworth — you need to read Wordsworth’s ‘Prelude.'”

“That’s if you want to take it seriously. If you don’t want to take it seriously, you can just get a 79-cent pen and express yourself,” he laughed. “No one’s gonna read it with any pleasure because … you haven’t paid attention to what happened in the past.”

Billy Collins On How To Become A Poet, And Why Poetry Can Be A Game

DEC 14, 2016