Vermont Reads 2013
About Billy Collins, editor of Poetry 180
Billy Collins’ “level of fame is,” according to the The Poetry Foundation, “almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry.” The New York Times has called him “the most popular poet in America,” and he is known internationally for work that is wry, generous, and accessible, and that connects with a wide variety of readers on multiple levels. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry, and has had his work published in Poetry, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Harper's, Paris Review, and The New Yorker.
Born in 1941 in New York City, Collins earned a BA from the College of the Holy Cross and an MA and PhD from the University of California-Riverside. He served two terms as the US Poet Laureate, from 2001-2004, and was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His books of poetry include Ballistics (2008); She Was Just Seventeen (2006); The Trouble with Poetry (2005); Nine Horses (2002); Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Questions About Angels (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).
His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Pushcart Prize anthology, and has been chosen several times for the annual Best American Poetry series. In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as “Literary Lion.” He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York.
(Photo by Marcelo Noah)