Drinking with the Second Shift
Naming the Dead
Occasions of Sin
Lives We Have Chosen
The Glass Blower
The Inventor Poems
Drinking with the Second Shift chronicles the coming of age of a white, suburban, middleclass youth working his “first real job” in an industrial bakery during summers to pay his way through college. In poems that are narrative and dramatic in form, the book explores questions of race and class and the meaning of labor, especially work that can be menial and degrading but that also has its rewards for the persona whose persistence pays off in ways far more beneficial than monetary.
Turning Point, 2017. 72 pp.
Poems that take the reader on a journey "into the blind world here below" accompanied by a miscellany of saints and strangers, real and imagined. At the heart of the collection lie eight elegies in which the author pays tribute to "some who haven't made it" and literally names the dead. In the end, the collection asserts that the only way to return home is to keep moving forward "into the mystery."
FutureCycle Press, 2012. 102 pp. $15.95.
Twenty poems drawing upon the author's life growing up Catholic. Includes selections from "The Unrecorded Miracles," several persona poems, and poems originating in personal experience, which provide context for the entire collection.
Mercy Seat Press, 2005. 38pp. $12.00.
Winner of the 1998 Tennessee Chapbook Prize from Poems & Plays. An internal chapbook, included in the 1998 issue of the journal. Fourteen poems exploring how the choices we make (and those we don't make) define our lives.
Chapbook cover page and design by Billy Renkl. Middle Tennessee State UP, 1998. 14 pp. $6.00 unavailable.
Eleven Jungian-infused lyric poems focusing on the interplay of artist and anima in the act of creation with an introduction by poet Vivian Shipley. Pudding House Publications, 1997. 18 pp. $8.95.
"In order to convey visionary ideas about what the muse provides for the artist, Collins assembles a foundation for each poem, aligning voice, line, title, and epigraph to provide perspective. The universal truth Collins creates in this carefully crafted series emanates from the glass blower's struggle to comprehend the necessity for suffering that inevitably accompanies the act of creation."
from the Introduction by Vivian Shipley
Twelve favorites selected and introduced by the author in the popular series from Pudding House Publications, including "The Rainmaker," "Running It All Back," and "Taking the Pledge." Easy to dance to. Pudding House Publications, 2002. 28 pp. $8.95.
"What poetry led me to discover is the deep and abiding curiosity I have about the world in which we live and the cosmos in which it floats, its origins and its originator."
from the Introduction by the author
A rare early work by the author of Lives We Have Chosen, Occasions of Sin, and Naming the Dead. One hundred forty copies of The Inventor Poems were printed from handset Bernard Gothic types on Watman and Canson papers (handmade) at the Logan Elm Press, the Arts-of-the-Book Laboratory of the Department of Arts Education at Ohio State University.
Logan Elm Press, 1981. 10 pp. $25.00 unavailable.