Billy Collins gives free reading to capacity crowd
Former U. S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will give a free reading at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, at Glenn Memorial Auditorium on the Emory University campus. More than 1,000 free tickets were reserved in less than 36 hours.
A second event has been added to the poet’s schedule: A Creativity Conversation with Billy Collins, Kevin Young and Rosemary Magee will be held at noon Monday, Jan. 30, in Cannon Chapel. The event is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.
Collins’ poetry mixes humor with insightful observations into everyday life, and he is sometimes compared to Robert Frost, who combined broad popular appeal and high critical acclaim. He’s often referred to as “the most popular poet in America,” and is expected to draw a capacity crowd to Glenn.
“His poems sometimes explore difficult themes through thoughtful humor,” says Kevin Young, curator of literary collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). “His poems have an incisive, powerful, and even troubling humor that also can be tender and wondrous. They convey a kind of wonder—and we should embrace that wherever we can find it.”
“He always gives a great reading,” Young adds. “He’s a music fan, and you can tell that from his work.”
The author of eight collections, including “The Trouble with Poetry” (2005), “Ballistics” (2008), and most recently “Horoscopes for the Dead” (2011), Collins has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation and was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. A former New York Public Library “Literary Lion,” he is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York.
His best-selling works include “Picnic, Lightning” (1998), “Questions about Angels” (1991), and “The Art of Drowning” (1995). His work has been chosen several times for the annual “Best American Poetry” series, and he is well known as a regular guest on National Public Radio programs.
Books and a limited-edition broadside will be available for sale at the reading and signing afterward. The reading is part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, which has brought such acclaimed poets as Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Sonia Sanchez and Lucille Clifton to Emory to read for the community.
The reading is sponsored by the Hightower Family Fund, MARBL, the Decatur Book Festival, and the Creative Writing Program at Emory.
—Maureen McGavin, KeyWords writer/editor
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