Billy Collins to give free reading

Jan. 4, 2012


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Maureen McGavin
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Elaine Justice
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Billy Collins is sometimes compared to Robert Frost, who combined broad popular appeal and high critical acclaim. Photo by Steven Kovich.


Note: Tickets are no longer available for this event.

Former U. S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will give a free reading at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, at Glenn Memorial Auditorium on the Emory University campus.

Collins’ poetry mixes humor with insightful observations into everyday life, and he is sometimes compared to Robert Frost, who combined broad popular appeal and high critical acclaim. A well-known regular guest on National Public Radio programs, he’s often referred to as "the most popular poet in America" and is expected to draw a capacity crowd to campus.

"His poems sometimes explore difficult themes through thoughtful humor," says Kevin Young, curator of literary collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). "His poems have an incisive, powerful, and even troubling humor that also can be tender and wondrous. They convey a kind of wonder—and we should embrace that wherever we can find it."

The author of eight collections, including "The Trouble with Poetry" (2005), "Ballistics" (2008), and most recently "Horoscopes for the Dead" (2011), Collins has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. A former New York Public Library "Literary Lion," he is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Books and a limited-edition broadside will be available for sale at the reading and signing afterward. The reading is part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, which has brought such acclaimed poets as Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Sonia Sanchez and Lucille Clifton to Emory to read for the community.

Although admission is free and open to the public, tickets are required (limited to two per person) and may be obtained through the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts box office  or by calling 404.727.5050 beginning Wednesday, Jan. 4.  Note: Tickets are no longer available for this event.

A limited number of tickets also are available at four local independent bookstores: A Cappella Books, Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Book Shop and Little Shop of Stories. Limit two tickets per person.

The reading is sponsored by the Hightower Family Fund, MARBL, the Decatur Book Festival and the Creative Writing Program at Emory.

Glenn Memorial Auditorium is located at 1652 N. Decatur Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322. Parking is available in the Fishburne and the new Oxford Road decks.