CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – If one were to rank the country’s top poets, Billy Collins would likely top most lists. Aside from being both critically acclaimed and commercially popular, he is frequently heard on National Public Radio, and his appointment in 2001 as the Poet Laureate of the United States has afforded him a certain name recognition uncommon for most lyricists.
But attempting to rank poets and poetry in this way is a bit unseemly, so one is forced to judge the man on his work. That’s where Collins stands out, using a light touch to suddenly transform a humorous piece into something serious.
“Luring his readers into the poem with humor,” a New York Times, review proclaimed, “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.”
At 7:30 p.m. on March 16, Collins will visit Austin Peay State University for a free reading in the Music/Mass Communication Building’s Concert Hall. The event is sponsored by the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts.
Collins is the author of nine collections of poetry, and his work has appeared in such esteemed literary publications as The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The American Scholar. He is a Guggenheim fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, a National Endowment for the Arts fellow, a New York Public Library “Literary Lion” and recipient of the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize and the Levinson Prize. In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate, and 10 months later, he was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.
For more information on Collins or his upcoming reading, please contact the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at 931-221-7876.