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
“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
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 Yorker, The 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 Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The 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.