The following is a press release from Boston College:
Boston College’s Lowell Humanities Series—one of the University's most celebrated forums for intellectual, artistic and literary discourse—hosts a number of appearances by renowned writers and others during the academic year. The events are open to the public, free of charge.
Collins is “an American phenomenon” according to event organizers, who note that no poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. Collins is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion” whose work has appeared in periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The American Scholar. In 2001, he was appointed United States Poet Laureate for 2001-2003. In 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate for 2004-06. A distinguished professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, Collins also is a senior distinguished fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.
Collins has published eight collections of poetry, the three most recent collections breaking sales records for poetry. He began writing poems over 30 years ago, publishing his first collection in 1977. By 2001, he had produced the best-selling collections “The Art of Drowning” (1995) and “Picnic, Lighting” (1998), earning him high critical acclaim and rendering his poetry readings “standing room only.”
Unique in the field of poetry, Collins garnishes popular as well as critical praise. In the words of John Updike, “Billy Collins writes lovely poems…Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.”
In 2002, he recited his 9/11 poem, “The Names,” at a joint session of the United States Congress commemorating victims of the terrorist attacks. He also launched and supports Poetry 180, a mission to bring poetry to high school students. The program is designed to provide a poem each day of the 180-day school year to be recited in American classrooms.
“Hearing a poem every day, especially well-written, contemporary poems that students do not have to analyze, might convince students that poetry can be an understandable, painless and even eye-opening part of their everyday experience,” Collins says.
He has published two anthologies of poems, “Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry” and “180 More Extraordinary Poems for Everyday.” Collins has also edited multiple anthologies and poetry collections, and received numerous awards.
Collins’ BC appearance is presented by the University’s Lowell Humanities Series and BC Poetry Days.
Later this month, on March 28, the Lowell Humanities Series hosts an appearance by celebrated young fiction writer Téa Obreht, author of the New York Times bestseller The Tiger's Wife.
For information and details on the Lowell Humanities Series—including other speakers, directions and parking information—visit www.bc.edu/lowellhs. Events take place on Boston College’s Chestnut Hill campus located at 140 Commonwealth Avenue. The series is sponsored by the Lowell Institute, BC's Institute for the Liberal Arts and the Provost's Office.
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