Billy Collins Speaking at Fairmont State

(This news courtesy of WVW Contest Coordinator, Steve Goff)

Billy Collins, one of the greatest living American poets, will be speaking at Fairmont State on Nov. 16. He has really become quite the ambassador for poetry. Any of his collections are very good. He is usually witty, sharp, thoughtful and inspirational in everyone of his poems.

Following the speaking info. I have included a poem of his from the collection The Art of Drowning. I recommend going to a library or bookstore and check out some of his other work for yourself.

He is a very good speaker and quite funny in person. Garrison Keillor has had him on his radio show a lot and he holds his own when the witticisms start flying.

In the poetry world, this is a big "get" for our region. Hope you can make it. I'd go early because I think there will be a very good turn out.

William "Billy" Collins
Nov. 16, 2009
7 p.m.
Turley Center Ballroom

William "Billy" Collins, born March 22, 1941, is an American poet. He served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. In his home state, Collins was recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library in 1992 and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004. He was recently appointed Claire Berman Artist in Residence at The Roxbury Latin School, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He is a distinguished professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Collins received a B.A. degree from the College of the Holy Cross in 1963 and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside. Collins joined the faculty of Lehman College in the Bronx in 1968 and has taught there for over thirty years. He is a founding Advisory Board member of the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies at Lehman College. He has taught and served as a visiting writer at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York.

In 1997, he recorded "The Best Cigarette," a collection of 34 of his poems that would become a bestseller. In 2005, he recorded "Billy Collins Live: A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space" in New York City.

Poetry Magazine has awarded him several prizes in recognition of poems they publish. The magazine selected him as "Poet of the Year" in 1994. In 2005 Collins was the first annual recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry, bestowed by the Poetry Foundation (Poetry Magazine). He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 1993 and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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