Billy Collins by Uriel Solis


Early Years

Collins was born in New York City to William and Katherine Collins. Katherine Collins was a nurse who stopped working to raise the couple's only child. Billy Collins attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and received a B.A. (English) 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. His professors at Riverside included Victorian scholar and poet Robert Peters. In 1975 Collins founded The Mid Atlantic Review with his good friend and co-editor, Michael Shannon. He wrote his first poem at age 12 and later joined his high-school literary magazine. In 1963 Collins received a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, and he went on to earn a doctorate in Romantic poetry from the University of California, Riverside, in 1971. That year he also began a lengthy career as a professor of English at Lehman College.


Collins was a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College in the Bronx, where he joined the faculty in 1968 and has taught for over thirty years. He also has taught and served as a visiting writer at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York as well as teaching workshops across the U.S. and in Ireland. Collins is a member of the faculty of SUNY Stonybrook Southampton College, where he teaches poetry workshops. Collins was named U.S. Poet Laureate in 2001 and held the title until 2003. Collins served as Poet Laureate for the State of New York from 2004 until 2006. Collins has been named Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Winter Park Institute in Winter Park, Florida, an affiliate of Rollins College. Billy Collins has been called "The most popular poet in America" by the New York Times. When he moved from the University of Pittsburgh Press to Random House, the advance he received shocked the poetry world — a six-figure sum for a three-book deal, virtually unheard of in poetry. The deal secured for Collins through his literary agent, Chris Calhoun of Sterling Lord Literistic, with the editor Daniel Menaker, remained the talk of the poetry world, and indeed the literary world, for quite some time.

Billy Collins's Works:

Poetry Collections:

Pokerface (1977)

Video Poems (1980)

The Apple That Astonished Paris. University of Arkansas Press. 1988; University of Arkansas Press, 2006

Questions About Angels (1991)

The Art of Drowning University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995

Picnic, Lightning (1998)

Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes (2000)

Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems. Random House. 2001.; reprint Random House, Inc., 2002

Nine Horses. Random House, Inc.. 2002

Poems By Billy Collins

The Stare by Billy Collins
Billy Collins: Introduction to Poetry

Works Cited:

Papadopoulos, Patricia. "Billy Collins Poetry Quotes." Quotes Gram. Pinterest, 13 May. 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

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