Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to Visit Campus

MFA in Creative Writing Program

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, whom the New York Times called “the most popular poet in America,” will give a reading at Southern Connecticut State University on Wed., April 9, at 7:15 p.m. The reading, which will take place in the Charles Garner Recital Hall (Engleman C112), is free and open to the public. It will be followed by an audience Q&A and a booksigning.

billy collinsCollins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, and he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.” His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience – enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio – includes people of all backgrounds and age groups.

Collins has published 10 collections of poetry and two chapbooks; edited two anthologies of contemporary poetry -- Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day; was the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2006; and edited Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, with paintings by David Allen Sibley. His most recent book is Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003-2013.

Included among the honors Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. In April 2013, he was selected as the fourth winner of the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry.

In June 2001, Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003. In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, as well as a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.

Collins’ visit to SCSU is co-sponsored by the university’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. For more information, call (203) 392-6589.

Photo credit: Suzannah Gilman