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Billy Collins Biography | Poet

Photo of Billy Collins

Billy Collins is arguably the greatest poet of the 21st century. His work is influential for many modern Americans since it is able to connect with the masses. Collins work is now considered some of the best poetry in history and is considered a modern classic that will impact future generations of poets.

Billy Collins was born in New York, New York on March 22, 1941. As of 2015, the time of this writing, he is age 74 and is very much still alive. Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States between 2001 and 2003. During his career he has earned numerous fellowships for the arts awards and he has worked hard to help expand poetry into the mainstream culture.

Major Achievements

The first book of poetry that Billy Collins released to the public was titled Pokerface in 1977. This poetry book did rather well in the market and it helped to get his name out in pubic. Three years later he released Video Poems. Collins had released a few more books since 1980 but he really started to find success around 1995 after he published the Art of Drowning. This book gave his career a big boost because it was a big seller. In 1997 he recorded the Best Cigarette and it to was a huge commercial success.

About three years later in 2000 he had another major breakthrough poetry book titled Taking Off Emily Dickerson's Clothes. This book was hailed by the critics as one of the best written poetry pieces in modern history. He went on to write the Trouble with Poetry in 2005 and Aimless Love in 2013. Both of these poetry books sold well to the public.

Keep in mind that Collins books were being regularly recited during the late 90s and early 2000s. His books became so popular that he gained national attention and eventually was selected by the Library of Congress to become a Poet Laureate. |This individual is responsibile for promoting poetry within the culture and throughout the world. Collins held this position for two years and during his time he had worked to bring poetry into mainstream America.

Education and Work

All throughout his life, Collins has worked inside of the education institutions and in the field of writing. When Collins was in high school he attended Archbishop Stepinac High School and once he finished there he went on to College of the Holy Cross and received a B.A. In English. By 1968 he was a professor at Lehman College. He also taught at Sarah Lawrence College and he is also is a part of the staff at Sunny Stony Brook in Ireland. Collins regularly conducts poetry workshops and has public presentations about poetry including his works. Collins poetry books are such a huge best seller that he was (and is) able to command a six-figure advance for his work. Most authors cannot do this for their material. The large advance that Collins received is a clear indication about the importance of his poetry and its impact in modern society.

The Significance of Billy Collin's Poetry

Billy Collins poetry reflects modern American life. His work is so popular because he uses the everyday situations that most Americans deal with to connect with audiences. His work caters to middle class Americans and their struggles. Collins delves deep into their everyday routines and thought patterns to make his material relate to this particular class of people. Collins is also important because he has managed to help keep poetry alive and thriving in the mainstream when there are so many different alternatives and choices competing for people's attention. His efforts has helped to extend poetry well beyond its normal borders and has brought it into the lives of people everywhere. 


Billy Collins: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes