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Works by
Billy Collins
(Poet, Poet Laureate of the United States, 2001-2003)
[1941 - ]

Email:  ???
Profile created August 9, 2007
  • Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (2003)
    A dazzling new anthology of 180 contemporary poems, selected and introduced by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

    Inspired by Billy Collins’s poem-a-day program with the Library of Congress, Poetry 180 is the perfect anthology for readers who appreciate engaging, thoughtful poems that are an immediate pleasure.

    A 180-degree turn implies a turning back—in this case, to poetry. A collection of 180 poems by the most exciting poets at work today, Poetry 180 represents the richness and diversity of the form, and is designed to beckon readers with a selection of poems that are impossible not to love at first glance. Open the anthology to any page and discover a new poem to cherish, or savor all the poems, one at a time, to feel the full measure of contemporary poetry’s vibrance and abundance.

    With poems by Billy Collins, Catherine Bowman, Charles Simic, Dana Gioia, David Wojahn, Edward Hirsch, Frances Mayes, Galway Kinnell, Katha Pollitt, Kenneth Koch, Lucille Clifton, Mary Jo Salter, Naomi Shihab Nye, Paul Muldoon, Paul Zimmer, Philip Levine, Sharon Olds, Thomas Lux, William Matthews, and many more.

  • 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday Life (2005)

  • The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (2005), Sue Ellen Thompson, ed.
    The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry is an exciting collection of work from more than ninety of the best poets writing today including Denise Duhamel, Gerald Stern, Jean Valentine, Jo McDougall, Maxine Kumin, Nick Flynn, Phillip Levine, Rita Dove, Stephen Dunn, Tim Seibles, Tony Hoagland, and many others.

  • The Best American Poetry 2006 (2006), Billy Collins and David Lehman, eds.
    Billy Collins, one of our most beloved poets, has chosen poems of wit, humor, imagination, and surprise, in a range of styles and forms, for The Best American Poetry 2006. The result is a celebration of the pleasures of poetry.

    In his charming and candid introduction Collins explains how he chose seventy-five poems from among the thousands he considered. With insightful comments from the poets illuminating their work, and series editor David Lehman's thought-provoking foreword, The Best American Poetry 2006 is a brilliant addition to a series that links the most noteworthy verse and prose poems of our time to a readership as discerning as it is devoted to the art of poetry.

As Editor
  • Billy Collins Live (2005)
    In this exclusive audio publishing event, Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate, shares an evening of his poetry in a benefit reading for WNYC, New York Public Radio. Often compared to Robert Frost, his poetry has been embraced by people of all ages and backgrounds, and his readings are most often standing room only.

    Performed by the author at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City, Billy Collins reads 24 of his poems, including "Dharma" --a spiritual yet humbling ode to man's best friend, "The Lanyard--an amusing recollection about the popular, if not pointless, summer camp pastime, and "Consolation" --a tongue-in-cheek reflection of a cancelled European trip, and the benefits of staying home instead. In addition to the poetry readings, Collins also spends some time in a brief question and answer session where he reflects on what makes good poetry, his own process of reaching his audiences as a poet, the success of his Poetry 180 programs in schools nationwide, and an amusing sidebar on his memories growing up as an only child. At times pensive and sardonic, amusing and subtly sarcastic, Billy Collins Live celebrates both the simple and the complex in a language that appeals to all.  CD.

  • The Best Cigarette (2005)
    The selected poems of Billy Collins read by the author. 33 poems, over 70 minutes, very high quality recording on cassette or CD.

Children's Books
  • Daddy's Little Boy (2004) with Maggie Kneen, Illustrator
    You're an angel from heaven, sent down from above,
    You're daddy's little boy, to have and to love. . .

    The song "Daddy's Little Boy" has been a favorite of fathers and sons -- and mothers, too -- for more than fifty years. In this first ever picture-book version, a caring daddy bear and his little cub bring the moving lyrics to life as they bask in each other's love. The full lyrics and music are included for the whole family to enjoy together. 

  • Video Poems (1979)

  • The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988)
    To read The Apple That Astonished Paris is to pass into a linguistic world reminiscent of the visual worlds of Gorey and Sendak, or a gentle passing over into the "far side."

  • Questions About Angels (1991)
    Selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series, Questions About Angels, Billy Collins's fourth book of poems, is available again. Remarkable for their wry, inquisitive voice and their sheer imaginative range, these poems are probing explorations, journeys into the unexpected. Questions About Angels reinforces Collins's place among the most talented poets of this generation.

  • Art Of Drowning (1995)
    The Art of Drowning - one of the books that helped establish and secure his reputation and popularity during the 1990s-is distinctive in its variety of interests and the generous hospitality of its voice. Ranging from an analysis of Keats's handwriting to the art form of the calendar pinup, the subjects of his poems inspire imaginative play.

  • Picnic, Lightning (1998)
    Picnic, Lightning-one of the books that helped establish and secure his reputation and popularity during the 1990s-combines humor and seriousness, wit and sublimity. His poems touch on a wide range of subjects, from jazz to death, from weather to sex, but share common ground where the mind and heart can meet.

  • Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes (2000)

  • Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001)
    Sailing Alone Around the Room, by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, contains both new poems and a generous gathering from his earlier collections The Apple That Astonished Paris, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. These poems show Collins at his best, performing the kinds of distinctive poetic maneuvers that have delighted and fascinated so many readers. They may begin in curiosity and end in grief; they may start with irony and end with lyric transformation; they may, and often do, begin with the everyday and end in the infinite. Possessed of a unique voice that is at once plain and melodic, Billy Collins has managed to enrich American poetry while greatly widening the circle of its audience.

  • Nine Horses (2002)
    In Nine Horses, Billy Collins, America’s Poet Laureate for 2001–2003, continues his delicate negotiation between the clear and the mysterious, the comic and the elegiac. The poems in this collection reach dazzling heights while being firmly grounded in the everyday. Traveling by train, lying on a beach, and listening to jazz on the radio are the seemingly ordinary activities whose hidden textures are revealed by Collins’s poetic eye. With clarity, precision, and enviable wit, Collins transforms those moments we too often take for granted into brilliant feats of creative imagination. Nine Horses is a poetry collection to savor and to share.

  • The Trouble with Poetry: and Other Poems (2005)
    Playfulness, spare elegance, and wit epitomize the poetry of Billy Collins. With his distinct voice and accessible language, America’s two-term Poet Laureate has opened the door to poetry for countless people for whom it might otherwise remain closed.

    Like the present book’s title, Collins’s poems are filled with mischief, humor, and irony, “Poetry speaks to all people, it is said, but here I would like to address / only those in my own time zone”–but also with quiet observation, intense wonder, and a reverence for the everyday: “The birds are in their trees, / the toast is in the toaster, / and the poets are at their windows. / They are at their windows in every section of the tangerine of earth–the Chinese poets looking up at the moon, / the American poets gazing out / at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise.”

    Through simple language, Collins shows that good poetry doesn’t have to be obscure or incomprehensible, qualities that are perhaps the real trouble with most “serious” poetry: “By now, it should go without saying / that what the oven is to the baker / and the berry-stained blouse to the drycleaner / so the window is to the poet.”

    In this dazzling new collection, his first in three years, Collins explores boyhood, jazz, love, the passage of time, and, of course, writing–themes familiar to Collins’s fans but made new here. Gorgeous, funny, and deeply empathetic, Billy Collins’s poetry is a window through which we see our lives as if for the first time.

  • She Was Just Seventeen (2006), with Lee Gurga, ed.
    A fine letter press edition of haiku.

See also:
  • The Eye of the Poet: Six Views of the Art and Craft of Poetry (2001), David Citino, ed.
    Featuring contributions from widely published and practicing poets who are also experienced teachers and presenters of poetry, The Eye of the Poet: Six Views of the Art and Craft of Poetry provides students and other readers with invaluable practical advice. Ideal for courses in poetry writing and creative writing, it includes six sections written by Ann Townsend, Billy Collins, Carol Muske, David Baker,  David Citino, Maxine Kumin, and Yusef Komunyakaa. These poets speak their minds about their relationship with their art and craft, offering guidance to writers at all levels of experience from the beginner to the veteran.

    In their essays, the contributors include examples of poems--written by themselves or others--to illustrate key points. While the chapters are meant to be self-contained explorations, they are also interrelated parts of the volume as a whole. The Eye of the Poet is a stimulating conversation in which successful poets share with readers their enthusiasm, knowledge, and vision, as well as their estimation of the possibilities of the poem. In this book, students of poetry will discover the wide variety of options available to them when they sit down to create their own works.

  • Poetry Speaks to Children (2005) by Dominique Raccah and Elise Paschen, eds. with Judy Love, Paula Zinngrabe Wendland, and Wendy Rasmussen, Illustrators
    Parents, educators, librarians, and poetry enthusiasts have wondered for years how to get children really interested in poetry. Until now, there hasn't been a collection of poems and poets that spoke directly to that elusive audience. Poetry Speaks to Children cracks through that barrier by packaging the best poems by the best authors along with a CD-making the engrossing and often mischievous verses come alive in the voices of many of the creators.

    Poetry Speaks to Children reaches into the world of poetry and pulls out the elements children love: rhyme, rhythm, fun and, every once in a while, a little mischief.

    More than 90 poems, for children ages six and up, celebrate the written word and feature a star-studded lineup of beloved poets, including: Billy Collins, Dennis Lee, Gwendolyn Brooks, John Ciardi, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Ogden Nash, Rita Dove, Roald Dahl, Robert Frost, J. R. R. Tolkien, Seamus Heaney, Sonia Sanchez, and X. J. Kennedy.

    On the accompanying CD, 50 of the poems are brought to life--most read by the poets themselves--allow the reader to hear the words as the poets intended.  Ages 4-8.

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