Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins reads his poem, "The Lanyard."
Poet Billy Collins is a unique literary figure - a widely read contemporary poet. The former US Poet Laureate and New York State Poet has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, though his most dramatic honors come from a wide and appreciative readership. Collins's poetry collections, including The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, and Picnic, Lightening, have broken records for poetry sales. His writing is marked by inventiveness beyond traditional poetry forms with ironic twists and lyrical turns of phrase that resonate powerfully. An advocate for integrating poetry into everyday life, Collins compiled the anthologies Poetry 180 and 180 More with poems for every day of a typical school year. Billy Collins has been a professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York since 1968 - City Arts & Lectures
Billy Collins is the author of several books of poetry and two anthologies of contemporary poetry, including The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems; The Arts of Drowning, which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall prize; and Questions About Angels, which won the National Poetry Series in 1990. He is also a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College (CUNY). Collins served as US Poet Laureate (2001-2003) and as New York State Poet Laureate (2004-2006). Collins' poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Harper's, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among many other journals and periodicals. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has won several awards and prizes.