Billy Collins

Billy Collins’ most recent book is Musical Tables. His poetry collections include Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); and The Art of Drowning (1995). In October 2004, Collins was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. His other awards and honors include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 40 years. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute in Florida and, as of 2015, an MFA faculty member at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 2016, Collins was elected into The American Academy of Arts and Letters.


  • Piano Epistemology, Apostrophes and Beauty

    I’m pretty sure this piano exists,
  • Still Life with Clouds and Eyes on the Prize

    Many white ones
  • Burial Arrangements

    If I have to be buried at all,
  • Near the Sea

    All manner of birds love this windbreak hedge
  • View From a Shrinking Floe

    Beyond the boats freed from the dripping ice
  • Note to Thomas Stearns Eliot

    I just dared to eat
  • Home Life

    I was sitting still in an armchair