Author Spotlight: Billy Collins

Author Spotlight: Billy Collins

Billy Collins is a name you probably heard before. He has been hailed as “the most popular poet in America.” His poetry is even on display in subways and on the back of Metrocards. Achieving a level of fame most poets covet, Collins regularly sells out events and  has served twice as the United States Poet Laureate from 2001-2003 and again from 2004-2006. During his second term as Poet Laureate, Collins was picked to be the New York State Poet for 2004.

Born on March 22nd, 1941, Collins is best known for his conversational poetry that is upbeat and witty. However, his poems also reveal a quirky and tender side, especially when it revolves around everyday routines and even on poetry itself. Collins admits that his work often appeals to people because he’s not afraid to be domestic, middle-class, and unabashedly “suburban” in his poetry.

His current collection of poetry is Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems, which includes selected works from previous books and 50 new poems. “Royal Aristocrat” is a humorous ode to Collins’ old typewriter, which served him faithfully when he was a young poet “trying to write the opening lines to his very own Hamlet.”  Meanwhile, “Paris” is a whimsical and witty look at the mundane events of everyday life: bird watching in the mornings before work, reading the newspaper, and pondering what outfit to wear to the office.

His 2007 work The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems uses simple language in its selected poetry to show readers that you don’t have to use flowery language in your writing–after all, sometimes a straightforward approach to poetry is best. For example, “You, Reader and Monday” shows Collins at his best, especially as he makes jokes about how difficult it is to write the book.

If you’re in dire need of a good pick-me-up, then Billy Collins’ poetry is your best bet and will be a welcome addition to your bookshelf.

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