Billy Collins

Note to Thomas Stearns Eliot
January 6, 2014 Collins Billy

Note to Thomas Stearns Eliot


I just dared to eat

a really big peach


while I had on

a pair of plaid shorts

and a blue tee shirt full of holes


and little rivers of juice

are now running down my chin

and dripping onto the pool deck.


What is your problem, man?

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.