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William J. "Billy" Collins (born March 22, 1941) is a poet who served two terms as the 11th Poet Laureate of the United States. He served from 2001 to 2003. In his home state, Collins has been recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004.
- (from 1999): As I'm writing, I'm always reader conscious. I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I'm talking to, and I want to make sure I don't talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong.
- (from 2004): Moving from the position of United States poet laureate to New York State poet laureate might seem like a demotion or a drop in rank to the military-minded. It might even appear that I am heading toward eventually being crowned laureate of my ZIP code. But in fact, it is very gratifying to be honored again as a representative of poetry, this time by my native state where I grew up — more or less — and continue to live.
- Watch a collection of 11 animated poems read aloud by Billy Collins
- 33 poems read aloud by Billy Collins, no charge (Creative Commons)
- Poems by Billy Collins at PoetryFoundation.org
- Griffin Poetry Prize biography (2004 judge and award emcee)
- Billy Collins at poets.org
- Billy Collins at poetenladen.de (poetshop)