Billy Collins, one of America’s most acclaimed poets, sat down with PBS News Hour to discuss his new poetry collection, Aimless Love, and how he brings humor to a medium that isn’t particularly known for its humor. The former Poet Laureate begins by admitting that when he was younger he took poetry more seriously and didn’t allow a sense of fun in his work because he believed that all poets were miserable. But he later adds that writing funny poems is also quite difficult because you have to make sure that your poetry sounds authentic. After all, you can’t pretend to be funny! Whether you’re a long-time fan of poetry or just starting to read different poets, Billy Collins’ interview is both amusing and inspiring, proving that not all poetry has to be about tortured artists.
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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.
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