Billy Collins, Senior Distinguished Fellow and Two-Term US Poet Laureate






As if it were not hard enough,

whenever my pencil

moves along the page,

the eraser end points up at me

and wags its little pink finger

to remind me of our appointment

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Latest Billy Collins News

At the request of Garrison Keillor, Billy Collins served as guest host for the daily radio program The Writer's Alamanc from June through September of 2013.

Collins was a TED speaker in 2011, and for the 30th anniversary meeting of TED he was selected by a popular vote to be one of 100 out of over 1,000 past TED speakers who will attend this special TED gathering in Vancouver in March of 2014.

The U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs awarded Collins a U.S. Speaker and Special Grant to participate in a project on American Culture in Russia in September 2013. This involved meetings in Moscow and Yekaterinburg with Russian poets, writers, and cultural leaders.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal in New York, Collins was commissioned by Metropolitan Transit Arts of the City of New York to write a poem. He read the poem at the anniversary ceremony held in the Concourse, and the poem appears on 2600 subway cars and on the backs of thousands of MetroCards. Click on this link to hear it.

Collins's readings and lectures for 2013 include:

  • Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego
  • St. Petersburg College
  • The Denver Post, St. Sebastian School (Needham, MA)
  • Loomis Chafee School (Windsor, CT)
  • Frances Parker School (Chicago), Kent State
  • A benefit for The Children's Hospital of Oakland, CA
  • The Teachers' College of Columbia University (NY)
  • The Southhampton Writers' Conference (NY)
  • The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival (CT)
  • A benefit for Featherstone Arts on Martha's Vineyard (MA)
  • A benefit for Porter's Call (TN)
  • A conversation with Paul Simon at Chautauqua (NY)
  • Sun Valley, Burlington Humanities Council (VT)
  • Palm Beach Poetry Festival
  • Kiawah Island Teachers' Conference, Syracuse Universtiy
  • Pantages Theatre (MN)
  • Key West Literary Seminar
  • The 92nd Street Y (NY)
  • The Folger Library (DC)

Locally, Collins gave readings at the Winter Park Rotary Club and The Mayflower. In the fall, he read at The English Speakers' Union at the University Club.

Collins conducted an all-day long workshop on poetry and teaching with 25 specially selected teachers from the New York area as part of the "Teacher's Academy." The workshop was held at Lehman College (City University of New York).

In April, Collins served as a table host for the annual PEN Gala in New York.

Collins read at the New York Botanical Gardens for their annual Holiday Train Show, which featured his poems.

He appeared at the White House at the invitation of the First Lady and gave a private reading for her and her guests including the wife of the visting Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Collins's new collection of poems, AIMLESS LOVE: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 2003-2013 was released by Random House in October. He has also recorded a selection of those poems to be released as a CD by Random House Audio. The book tour will include stops in Seattle, Eugene (OR), San Francisco, San Raphael (CA), Santa Cruz, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, and Grand Cayman. His booktour included appearances on The Colber Report, the Diane Rehm Show, The PBS NewsHour, and The Leonard Lopate Show. The book appeared at #12 on the New York Times Best Selling Fiction list and is now in its 7th printing.

Collins was awarded the Hall-Kenyon Prize for Poetry (2013), instituted by poets Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. Read the article here.

Collins returned as a guest on A Prairie Home Companion in Minneapolis in October.

Collins continues to act as the Poetry Consultant for the Smithsonian Magazine.

"Poetry 180," an anthology of contemporary poetry edited by Collins was selected as the 2013 book for Vermont Reads.

Collins's poetry collection Sailing Alone Around the Room went into its 16th printing.