The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid From the Booker Prize winning author of The English Patient comes a visionary novel a virtuoso synthesis of storytelling history and myth about William Bonney a k a Billy the Kid a bloodthirsty

  • Title: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
  • Author: Michael Ondaatje
  • ISBN: 9780747572602
  • Page: 244
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the Booker Prize winning author of The English Patient comes a visionary novel, a virtuoso synthesis of storytelling, history, and myth, about William Bonney, a.k.a Billy the Kid, a bloodthirsty ogre and outlaw saint Ondaatje s language is clean and energetic, with the pop of bullets Annie Dillard.

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      Published :2019-04-11T23:38:49+00:00


    About “Michael Ondaatje

    • Michael Ondaatje

      He was born to a Burgher family of Dutch Tamil Sinhalese Portuguese origin He moved to England with his mother in 1954 After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen Ondaatje studied for a time at Bishops College School and Bishop s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, but moved to Toronto and received his BA from the University of Toronto and his MA from Queen s University in Kingston, Ontario and began teaching at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario In 1970 he settled in Toronto From 1971 to 1988 he taught English Literature at York University and Glendon College in Toronto.He and his wife, novelist and academic Linda Spalding, co edit Brick, A Literary Journal, with Michael Redhill, Michael Helm, and Esta Spalding.Although he is best known as a novelist, Ondaatje s work also encompasses memoir, poetry, and film.Ondaatje has, since the 1960s, also been involved with Toronto s influential Coach House Books, supporting the independent small press by working as a poetry editor.In 1988 Michael Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada OC and two years later became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.He has two children and is the brother of philanthropist, businessman, and author Christopher Ondaatje.In 1992 he received the Man Booker Prize for his winning novel adapted into an Academy Award winning film, The English Patient.



    773 thoughts on “The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

    • This is a portrait of Billy the Kid as reflected in a thousand pieces of a shattered mirror. The book is composed of vignettes, poems, photos, and fragments of prose, each of which is a little stroke of brilliance and all of which together paint an incredibly rich, violent, and moving portrait of this young man and his legend. Ondaatje is quite a conjurer here.


    • avant-garde, postmodern, revisionist, a deconstruction, self-conscious and self-aware, prose from another planet, beautifully brutal, the kind of spikey poetry you see in some of the books of Hawke or even some DeLillo (i'm thinking Libra), the kind of book that you read and reread and remember forever. at least this reader didl of the above does nothing to sum up the yearning and strangeness and rightness of this underrated modern classic.i mentioned 'poetry' but i am talking about the prose. p [...]


    • A stew of fact and fiction, a hot mess of history, a researched yet fabricated poetry book, a travelogue, a series of gray-scale images, and also text describing nonexistent images in film photography's technical jargon (and I swoon), this book hits all my right notes. If Billy the Kid had ever constructed a little girl's scrapbook journal which reflected on the huge themes of his life, but in simple language like stripping bare an entire mythology of a real human being and then drawing it in cr [...]


    • "Get away from me yer stupid chicken."Oh man I love this book. There's a blurb from Larry McMurtry where he admits that it "strains one's powers of descrition" which pretty much sums it up. The Collected Works explores the interior life of Billy the Kid and his relationship with Pat Garrett. It's raw, funny, and frightening all in one go. Because 1) it's so interior, 2) Ondaatje excels at this sort of characterization, and 3) Billy is bat shit crazy, the exteriors are hyperbolic and grotesque. B [...]


    • (Cue the Dylan soundtrack from the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. A little scratchy, a little 'first-take'. Go sepia. Remember the first time you heard: Billy, you're so far away from home.)Ondaatje was a kid in Sri Lanka -- a kid in Sri Lanka -- and he fell in love with the legend of Billy the Kid. Never kicked it. Then he started to write -- he had to write. He wrote a collage: of poems and poem fragments, prose, documentary testimonies. It's uneven, a broken western sky. But we're at th [...]



    • I've taken to describing this book as "What would happen if William Faulkner wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as a poem. Concisely. In Canada."So it's no surprise that it blew me away.


    • Ovo je jedna nenormalno dobra knjiga koja u lijepoj našoj dolazi u kompletu s nenormalno lošim prijevodom.Knjigu sam isprve čitao dosta zbunjen, s tek komadićima očigledne briljanosti koje su mi upadale u oči. Jer ima ih, itekako ih ima. Većina je ipak bila zbrljani mish-mash, no ajde, bilo je dovoljno dobro da krenem knjigu još jednom pročitati na engleskom. Na to me zapravo motivirala ova rečenica: "I'll be with the world till she dies" koja je kod nas prevedena kao "Pamtit će me do [...]


    • I'd say this book is like a Terence Malick movie transformed into poetry/prose/a few pictures. It's fragmentary, nebulous, disintegrating, nonsensical, beautiful, weird, scary, quiet, even silent. It's got lots and lots of white space. For a reason. I think it's wonderful and I want to spend even more time with it, let it soak in a bit more before further reports. One thing to say: it's very much an Ezra Pound poetry as history sort of thing, but clearer (but only because we know the myth immedi [...]


    • A book every bit as exalted and brutal asBlood Meridian, if slightly narrower in scope; it delineates a world in which life is cheap and short, and in which legend looms large.


    • Michael Ondaatje is certainly one of the world's greatest living writers. My admiration for his writing craft is boundless but I will nonetheless attempt at a dispirited review of his first novel-ish publication. Although this is his first "novel" (more on novel(ish)ness later), it ranks among his most unabashedly avant-garde next to The English Patient and his most recent Divisadero. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is one of the earliest attempts in North American letters at revising the W [...]


    • Poems, snippets, and pictures.Hearty. Read it twice.After shooting Gregorythis is what happenedI'd shot him well and carefulmade it explode under his heartso it wouldn't last longwas about to walk awaywhen this chicken paddles out to himand as he was falling hops on his neckdigs the beak into his throatstraightens legs and heavesa red and blue vein outMeanwhile he fell and the chicken walked awaystill tugging at the veintill it was 12 yards longas if it held that body like a kiteGregory's last w [...]


    • I have a theory about my difficulties with poetry. I think, because I kind of discovered prose outside of learning, I've always viewed it as past-time more anything. My parents got me reading early, I feel like I was reading books quite early. I certainly had a well-established addiction to Famous Five by the time I was in first class (seven-ish?).But never poetry. The only poetry I was ever really exposed to was in the classroom. Thinking about it like that I can understand how other kids felt [...]


    • I don’t see why you need my views on it.But since you ask.I do not claim to be an authority on poetry - least of all the experimental kind. Seems to me too many of thems that write it see a reader enjoying their work as a sign they did it wrong. Listening to me ramble on about it - you’d think I was one of them dumbass Conservatives as hates anything intellectual - but I really put great store in most literatures. It’s just that experimental poetry that gets my dander up.But Billy is anoth [...]


    • I LOVE this. So much that after I finished, I spent some time reading about Billy the Kid's life, and then started rereading Ondaatje's book. This is one of those books that, like Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, blurs the lines between novel and poetry. It needs to be savored slowly, and it's a book that doesn't seem to come together until you get to the end and then take the time to reread it. The first read was like wading through water -- enjoyable because Ondaatje's words are a joy to re [...]


    • If you're looking for something along the lines of The True History of the Kelly Gang or even Lonesome Dove, this ain't that. There were bits in this mishmash that worked, but the overall effect was too disjointed and maybe even self-indulgent to make for a satisfying read. Then again, it's Ondaatje, and Annie Dillard and Larry McMurtry blurbed it, so maybe I failed the author rather than the other way around.


    • if you are interested in experimental poetry or billy the kid, this book is for you, but since i know nothing about either i found this super jumbled and confusing



    • "I'll be with the world till she dies."So says William Bonney in Michael Ondaatje's impressionistic, avant-garde novel about the West's most mythologized outlaw.In this postmodern experiment with poetry, fragmented narrative, and photography, Ondaatje mines the essence, if not the facts, of Billy the Kid, using atmosphere, language, and form. "A river you could get lost in and the sun a flashy hawk on the edge of it"I felt the book was at its best in the short, stark poems, which illuminate a ve [...]


    • A slim but gorgeous, highly experimental work, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid follows, somewhat disjointedly, the life of the famous outlaw and a bit of his legend, too. Through a mixture of Ondaatje's unparalleled poetry (he is undoubtedly the most under-appreciated poet in the English-speaking world) and his equally moving, memorable prose, the reader drifts in and out of Billy's mind, his experiences, and the perspectives of the people who knew and loved him. The book is deeply focused [...]


    • I have wracked my brain, no joke - I actually whipped out a thesaurus in an attempt to find a word that might adequately describe Michael Ondaatje's Collected Works of Billy the Kid, but to no avail. I just don't think there is a word in the English language that would do it much justice. "Beautiful" or even "gorgeous" seem too dreary. No, Ondaatje's book of poems inspired by the infamous American outlaw is something else entirely. Writing from several perspectives, including that of Billy himse [...]


    • This is the book that got Tom Romano thinking about incorporating multigenre research in his high school classes, and it's easy to see why he found it so inspiring. (Interesting side note: In a new afterword Ondaatje reveals that he did almost no outside research prior to or during writing. He based his writing on the two facts he knew – that Billy the Kid was 21 when he died, and he had killed 21 people. Virtually everything else is Ondaatje's invention, contrary to what Romano thought). The [...]


    • Traditional novels starring legendary figures out of history often fill in too many of the blanks, either inflating the legend further with far-fetched inventions or deflating the legend with mundane, unnecessary details. This book does not try to fill in all the spaces, it's a brief assemblage of images and graphic episodes. It's imperfect and difficult to follow, but so was Billy the Kid. I love his ugly-ass smiling portrait.Ondaatje did this same exercise with Buddy Bolden, the seminal jazz t [...]


    • I think I've read this book a hundred times. A poetry teacher in high-school introduced me to it. I'd never read anything so gritty and sensual and amusing. When I was a child I used to play Frank and Jessie James with my best-friend; Billy the Kid was one of our imaginary pals. So reading him come to life on the page in Ondaatje's slim volume blew open my idea of what one was allowed to write about. I attended Glendon College because it said on the back of the book that was where Ondaatje taugh [...]


    • This is a great book. Ondaatje mixes genres here, such as poetry, prose, interviews, and news clippings. It creates a collage that is intended to portray the mind of Billy the Kid, and is tender and brutal at the same time. I really love this book. I re-read passages numerous times just to float in the imagery and soak it up. I can't say I came away from my first reading understanding what Ondaatje is doing all of the time. There are more than a few passages that just baffle me, but somehow the [...]


    • "His stomach was warm remembered this when I put my hand into a pot of luke warm tea to wash it outdragging out the stomach to get the bullethe wanted to see when taking teawith Sallie Chisum in Paris TexasWith Sallie Chisum in Paris Texashe wanted to see when taking teadragging out the stomach to get the bulleta pot of luke warm tea to wash it outremembered this when I put my hand intohis stomach was warm"Who thought we could know Billy the Kid so intimately through poetry and photographs?


    • When I started reading this small volume of interspersed poetry amongst clarifying prose I disliked the poetry portion. However once I focused on the multi-layered perceptions of Billy the Kid the poetry became his voice in a way that the prose could not.An example:One morning woke upCharlie was cookingand we ate not talkingbut sniffing windwind so fineit was like drinking etherWithin the poetry Ondaatje's punctuation is eratic, but the more I read the more I realized that Billy was eratic and O [...]


    • I must admit that I found the poetry a little bit hard to absorb, and the whole time I was reading I kept wondering what my ex-boyfriend (a poet) would think about it. The prose, on the other hand was wonderful, and I wish there had been more of both because by the time I got used to the two together, the book was over. So many reviewers here talk about re-reading, and I think I may have to do so myself.


    • This is the first of Ondaatje's experimental-type books, and never quite comes together. A lot of the prose is solid (and in his afterword, he says it's the first prose he wrote to publish; I find this surprising, but hey, it's a good start). The poetry has good bits and bad. But, as I said, the work as a whole never quite comes together for me.


    • Favorite quotes:1. "My fingers touch/this soft blue paper notebook/control a pencil that shifts up and sideways/mapping my thinking going its own way/like light wet glasses drifting on polished wood."2. "Not a story about me through their eyes then. Find the beginning, the slight silver key to unlock it, to dig it out. Here then is a maze to begin, be in."


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