Poet Feature: Billy Collins

As part of our celebration of National Poetry Month, we're featuring the work of a wide variety of poets, including Billy Collins!

Billy Collins was born in 1941 in New York City, but despite growing up in the big city, his poetry, as he describes it, is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.”  It's a style that's made Collins one of the most popular poets in America, though he wasn't an immediate success.  Following graduation from the College of the Holy Cross, Collins went on to pursue graduate and doctoral degrees from  he University of California-Riverside.  His poetry first appeared in the late 70s and 80s, but he achieved little recognition as a poet until his collection Questions about Angels  was released in 1991.  This collection was chosen for the National Poetry Series and introduced Collins to a wider audience with which he immediately connected. 

From that point on, Collins achieved something approaching rockstar status in the usually sedate world of poetry.  His readings regularly sell out well in advance, and his new collections are eagerly awaited by thousands of fans.  His work combines humor, wit, and keen observations of both the external world and human nature. 

Fellow poet Richard Howard noted that Collins “has a remarkably American voice…that one recognizes immediately as being of the moment and yet has real validity besides."  That voice earned Collins two terms as the US Poet Laureate (from 2001 to 2003), after which he went on to serve as the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004 until 2006.  He was also asked to compose a poem to commemorate the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  The result, a poem entitled "Names" was presented at a joint session of Congress in 2002.

Questions About Angels (Pitt Poetry Series) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780822956983
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Pittsburgh Press - January 7th, 1999

The Rain in Portugal: Poems Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780679644064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 4th, 2016

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812982671
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 21st, 2014

Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812975628
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 20th, 2012

Ballistics: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812975611
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 16th, 2010

Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780375755194
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - September 17th, 2002

The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780375755217
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 13th, 2007

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry Cover Image
By Billy Collins (Editor), Billy Collins (Introduction by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812968873
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 25th, 2003

Picnic, Lightning (Pitt Poetry Series) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780822956709
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: University of Pittsburgh Press - January 29th, 1998

The Art Of Drowning (Pitt Poetry Series) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780822955672
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: University of Pittsburgh Press - June 15th, 1995