In celebration of National Poetry Month and National Library Week, the Ypsilanti District Library is proud to present Poet Billy Collins on Thursday, April 12 at 7 pm at Washtenaw Community College’s Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence Building. Teens and adults are welcome to attend this special event which is free and open to the public.
Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in The New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observations on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. He served two terms as the U.S. Poet Laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and is a regular guest on National Public Radio. He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York where he is a distinguished professor.
Collins was born in 1941 in New York City. He earned a BA from the College of the Holy Cross, and both an MA and PhD from the University of California-Riverside. Though Collins published throughout the 1980s, it was his fourth book, Questions about Angels (1991) that propelled him into the literary spotlight. Subsequent works garnered comments noting that Collins’s skillful, smooth style and inventive subject matter “helps us feel the mystery of being alive” and “Rarely has anyone written poems that appear so transparent on the surface yet become so ambiguous, thought-provoking, or simply wise once the reader has peered into the depths.”
A few of his major works include: Nine Horses: Poems (2002), The Trouble with Poetry (2005), Ballistics (2008) and Horoscopes for the Dead (2011). Collins has described himself as “reader conscious”—“I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I’m talking to, and I want to make sure I don’t talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong.”
The site of the reading will be at Washtenaw Community College’s Towsley Auditorium located at 4800 East Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI.