Billy Collins was born in New York City in 1941. He is the author of several books of poetry, including Nine Horses (Random House, 2002); Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Questions About Angels (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).
A recording of Collins reading thirty-three of his poems, The Best Cigarette, was released in 1997. Collins's poetry has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and a variety of periodicals, including Poetry, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Harper's, Paris Review, and The New Yorker.
His work has been featured in the Pushcart Prize anthology and The Best American Poetry for 1992, 1993, and 1997. Collins has edited Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (Random House, 2003), an anthology of contemporary poems for use in schools.
Collins has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as "Literary Lion" and in 2001 he served as the U.S. Poet Laureate.
For several years he has conducted summer poetry workshops in Ireland at University College Galway. He is a professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York. He lives in Somers, New York.
Poems - 7 in all
I Ask You
Introduction to Poetry
Fishing on the Susquehanna in July