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4.9 / 5 Rated by 12 members
Review from Valerie M. Lyson

What a treat that Seattle Arts & Lectures brought Billy Collins back to Seattle after the snow day last fall when very few people were able to attend the event! Mr. Collins is engaging, funny, and thought-provoking. The evening event with him,...continued

reviewed May 22 2011 report as inappropriate
Review from Goldstar Member

My husband and I totally enjoyed Billy Collins' poetry reading for his wit, humor, candor, and insight. We could clearly hear him, even though our seats were halfway back in this large hall. Well done!

reviewed May 22 2011 report as inappropriate
Review from Goldstar Member

Billy Collins is a poet whose poetry is accessible, but not simple. I appreciative how artfully his poems unfold. He is an astute observer of how we humans go about our lives, revealing his finely-tuned sense of humor. The crowd laughed often as...continued

reviewed May 22 2011 report as inappropriate
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Quotes & Highlights

“Billy Collins writes lovely poems…Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.” —John Updike
“Much of Collins’s work is not just deft and cheerful but possessing of a slyly complicated intellectual tone.” —The New York Times


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 Angels was 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.”

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.

Selected Work

The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems (2005)

_Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry _(editor, 2003)

_Nine Horses _(2002)

Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001)

Picnic, Lightning (1998)

The Best Cigarette (audio recording, 1997)

The Art of Drowning (1995)

_Questions About Angels _(1991)

The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988)

<em>Sex With Strangers</em> Seattle Bike Show <em>To Kill a Mockingbird</em> <em>Cirque du Soleil: LUZIA</em> <em>RENT</em>: The 20th Anniversary Tour <em>The Snowy Day and Other Stories</em> by Ezra Jack Keats