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Most popular poet in America to visit University of Calgary

Collins NEW - hi-res (Credit Steven Kovich)_cc2.JPG

Former two-term Poet Laureate of the United States (2001-2003) Billy Collins will visit Calgary March 14 as the 2012 Distinguished Visiting Writer for the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program in the Faculty of Arts.

Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, on reading and writing, and on poetry itself. The New York Times calls him “the most popular poet in America” and Entertainment Weekly describes him as “The Oprah of poetry … Collins spins comic gold from the dross of quotidian suburban life … Chipping away at the surface, he surprises you by scrapping to the wood underneath, to some deeper truth.”

Collins says this of his upcoming visit to Calgary, “Of course, I am honored to be considered a distinguished writer by anyone, but because I am half-Canadian (my mother born and raised in Ontario), the honor is especially acute coming from a Canadian university. I look forward to a stampede of poetry lovers in Calgary.”

Collins is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College and has published eight collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Nine Horses, She Was Just Seventeen, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, and most recently, Horoscopes for the Dead. Poetry magazine named him, “Poet of the Year” in 1994. Among numerous accolades, he has received the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poem “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” has been recognized and preserved by the United States Native American literary registry as a culturally significant poem.

Reading and lecture by Billy Collins Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:30 p.m. 3rd floor ballroom, MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary. Admission is free!