Billy Collins 2012

Billy Collins: Writing With Light; A Conversation about Photography and Poetry

Rollins College
Rollins College

Billy Collins 2012

Billy Collins: Writing With Light; A Conversation about Photography and Poetry

Billy Collins, two-time US Poet Laureate, is the inaugural scholar of Winter Park Institute and has served as Senior Distinguished Fellow since 2008.  In addition to his literary contributions, he brings to campus  a variety of scholars  to engage in enlightened discussions.  Billy Collins has figured predominantly in the Winter Park Institute since the organization’s inception in the fall of 2008. “Poets used to hang out in cafes, but now you will find most of them at institutes of higher learning,” he said. “I can’t think of a more agreeable one to be found at than the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.”

Event Details

March 21, 2012 7:00 pm

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Speaker Bio

Billy Collins 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 YorkerThe Paris Review, and The American Scholar. 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. The poems themselves best explain this phenomenon. The typical Collins poem opens on a clear and hospitable note but soon takes an unexpected turn; poems that begin in irony may end in a moment of lyric surprise. No wonder Collins sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious.” It is a door that many thousands of readers have opened with amazement and delight.

Billy Collins has published nine collections of poetry, including Questions About AngelsThe Art of DrowningPicnicLightningTaking Off Emily Dickinson’s ClothesSailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected PoemsNine HorsesThe Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, and Ballistics. A collection of his haiku, titled She Was Just Seventeen, was published by Modern Haiku Press in fall 2006. He also edited two anthologies of contemporary poetry: Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday, and was the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2006. He is also the editor of Bright Wings: Poems about Birds, illustrated by David Sibley and published by Columbia University Press.

Included among the honors Billy 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 Award for Humor in Poetry. In June 2001, Billy Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003. In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06. Billy Collins is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Billy Collins is currently The Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.

“Luring his readers into the poem with humor, Mr. Collins leads them unwittingly into deeper, more serious places, a kind of journey from the familiar to quirky to unexpected territory, sometimes tender, often profound.”
— The New York Times