WE’RE BRINGING BILLY BACK! Ticket holders from the original November event are welcome to this Billy Collins presentation free of charge. If you have your original ticket, used or unused, it will gain you admission on May 22nd. If you need a replacement ticket, contact our Box Office at: [email protected].
Billy Collins was born in New York City in 1941. He received a B.A. in English from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1963 and his M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in romantic poetry from the University of California, Riverside in 1965 and 1971, respectively.
Collins was propelled into the literary spotlight when the collection Questions about Angelswas selected by poet Ed Hirsch for the 1990 National Poetry Series. He followed with The Art of Drowning (1995) and Picnic, Lightning (1998). In 1997 he released a recording of his poems, The Best Cigarette. He has written a collection of haikus and edited Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, with paintings by David Allen Sibley, among other anthologies of contemporary poetry. Collins was also guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2006. “We seem to always know where we are in a Billy Collins poem, but not necessarily where he is going,” said poet Stephen Dunn, “I love to arrive with him at his arrivals. He doesn’t hide things from us, as I think lesser poets do. He allows us to overhear, clearly, what he himself has discovered.”
Collins has been called “the class clown in the schoolhouse of American poetry” for his humorous, welcoming style and broad appeal. Both critically acclaimed and tremendously popular, his last three collections have broken sales records for poetry. Collins served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003. “When words are put together in fresh ways,” he has said, “there is a pleasure-giving quality in language, which brings a release of endorphins.” The New York Times finds, “much of Collins’s work is not just deft and cheerful but possessing of a slyly complicated intellectual tone.”
Collins is a Guggenheim fellow, a New York Public Library “Literary Lion,” and a frequent guest on National Public Radio and A Prairie Home Companion. Included among the honors he has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, where he has taught for over 30 years.