Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

Billy Collins
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(born William James Collins) is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York and is the Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute, Florida. Collins was recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004-2006.

Early Years

Collins was born in New York City to William and Katherine Collins. Katherine Collins was a nurse who stopped working to raise the couple's only child. Mrs. Collins had the ability to recite verses on almost any subject, which she often did, and ... more »

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Comments about Billy Collins

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Kevan Murphie (6/17/2015 3:36:00 PM)

    Dear Chris Robideaux,
    I was very disappointed to read that you were appalled. I was equally unhappy Mr.Collins wasn't able to meet the criteria required by the Greeks. I'm sure that should he have known this a long time ago, things may have been different and he would have practised harder. I'm also sorry to read that........well, to be honest Mr. Robideaux, I didn't read all your comment I'm afraid. I stopped short through boredom. I do apologise.

  • Rookie - 139 Points Chris Robideaux (10/3/2014 6:27:00 PM)

    This guy is the perfect example of the whitewash of academia strangling real, creative genius and having that pass for art, which poetry is. It is appalling to me that this man was awarded the highest poetry honors in the land, with lines that seem to be exploring banality and passionless, inconsequential chatter. When the Greeks crowned their bards with the laurel wreaths, they were conferring an honor on parallel with the greatest warriors and heroes, and now we have this middle-aged academic populist, pedestrian pabulum passing for what used to be the mark of the seer and revolutionary. It is appalling that so many more talented seers and potentates of expressive genius are passed over and marginalized in favor of the dumbed-down-agenda stooges like Collins, Kooser, et all, who amount, in my opinion, to nothing more than bland, unimaginative palaver for the masses.

  • Rookie R Bremner (11/27/2013 12:32:00 PM)

    Smoke rings like rumors
    and dreams like stale cigarettes
    in a cracked ashtray
    left behind at the old apartment.
    from You are once again the stranger, at Amazon, BN.com, Itunes, Sony, Kobo, and Diesel ebooks,

  • Rookie Hsinhui Wang (6/12/2010 12:14:00 AM)

    please read Wisdom of the Sadhu

    http: //www.jesusministries.org/jmwebstore/downloads/SS_001_Wisdom_Of_The_Sadhu.pdf

  • Rookie Hsinhui Wang (6/11/2010 6:19:00 PM)

    I just read one of his poem...I just want to say, May the truth reveal to human mankind...There is NO true religion on earth. There is only true relationship.

  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (8/11/2009 9:21:00 AM)

    There’s a certain class of book
    I take with me to my pm nap:

    worth dipping into; more pleasurable
    for taking time over reading to its end;

    that leaves no shame when I doze off
    and it falls into my lap; a sweet waking dream;

    today it’s Billy Collins: ex-
    Poet Laureate or should that be
    Poet ex-Laureate since he’s still writing
    in that laid-back manner that goes with
    recliner chairs and a nap that’s natural;

    for me, he’s still Laureate, anyway;
    and in my dreamy state, I like to indulge

    in an undemanding game, best played
    between the waking and that dreaming state
    which Hindus name as swapna; and I like the name;
    (its alternative, prajna, sounds too much like work) :

    the game is, nail the character
    in just two lines, no more, of Shakes-pa-herian pastiche:

    Methinks he hath a wily, wayward charm,
    under guise of which he arrows heav’n.

  • Rookie Katie Finley (7/12/2006 7:48:00 PM)

    I saw Billy Collins when he came to Boston College and the occasion marked one of the most special moments in my (albeit brief) lifetime. If you get the opportunity to see him, take it!
    My favourite poems are 'On Turning Ten' and 'Love'. He is one of the poets I love best.

  • Rookie John F (4/25/2006 2:50:00 PM)

    I work with some people who have created some amazing animated poetry pieces featuring poems by Billy Collins. It's a series of 10 or so and they are very well done. It's Billy Collins himself reading the poems with animation used to bring them to life.

    http: //video.google.com/videosearch? q=Billy+Collins

    Hope you have a moment to take a look. I'm trying to help the creators get their work some more attention! !

  • Rookie Beth Harrington-howes (1/24/2006 12:42:00 PM)

    Going to hear him speak tonight.

  • Rookie Beth Harrington-howes (1/24/2006 12:42:00 PM)

    Going to hear him speak tonight.

Read all 10 comments »
Best Poem of Billy Collins

Forgetfulness

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping ...

Read the full of Forgetfulness
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