Poet Laureate Billy Collins to speak May 4 at McDaniel College

February 23, 2011

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will speak at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 4 at McDaniel College’s Alumni Hall in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the annual B. Christopher Bothe Poetry Lecture.

Admission is free and open to the public.

“Collins is the contemporary master of poetic musings on the quotidian; his deftly ironic poems offer keen observational — and philosophical — commentary on daily and domestic human interaction,” says Dr. Kathy Mangan, professor of English and published poet who teaches creative writing at McDaniel.

“He's also an engaging and entertaining reader of his poems, often to very large and appreciative audiences.”

Poet Billy Collins combines high critical acclaim with broad popular appeal. He has been said to lure his readers in with humor, and then lead them into deeper, serious, often profound places. Collins considers humor as “a door into the serious.” His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience – enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio – includes people of all backgrounds and age groups.

Born in New York City, Collins received a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross, and master's and doctorate degrees from the University of California-Riverside. He is a two-term United States Poet Laureate, New York State Poet, and the author of eight collections of poetry; his last three published collections have broken sales records for poetry.

Collins’ work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The American Scholar. He is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.” With the Library of Congress, he established Poetry 180, a teaching aid for high school students founded on the belief that "poems can inspire and make us think about what it means to be a member of the human race."

He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and he has won the Mark Twain Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine.

The Bothe lecture brings a visiting writer to McDaniel’s campus for one day to meet with student writers and to give a public reading and lecture. B. Christopher Bothe, a member of the Class of 1972, was a poet, award-winning journalist, and printer who died in 1984. Bothe’s family and friends developed the lecture in his memory in 1987.

For more information, call 410-857-2290.