Billy Collins’ Writing Inspires Young Poets

April 8, 2011 Campus, Events, Features

Winter Park Institute patrons, students, and professors, fi lled the Annie Russell Theatre in eager anticipation for the poetry reading. Billy Collins’ newest collection of poems, Horoscopes for the Dead, was originally scheduled to premiere the same day of his reading, on Tuesday, March 29, but when the release date changed to the following week, the audience was able to hear an early release of his collection.

Perching reading glasses on the bridge of his nose, Collins read a series of poems from his new collection. Some crowd favorites include: “What She Said,” “The Hangover,” and, his newest, unpublished piece, “To an 18-year-old American High School Girl.” Rob Vezina ’13 commented that his latest poem “perfectly captures the essence of the ‘me’ generation.”

When asked to provide advice for young poets, Collins said simply, “Read. You learn things by taking lessons, and poetry lessons are reading. The real teachers are in the library.”

After the session ended, Jenny Nilson ’12 stated, “normally I hate English, but I liked him.” Tasha Frank ’12 declared that Collins was “refreshingly irreverent.”

Professor Alan Nordstrom of the English department recruited Collins to read at Rollins when he saw him at Valencia Community College several years ago. Nordstrom exclaimed, “he just is so personable, so charming, wryly humorous, witty, and a good actor, in an unassuming casual way.” Nordstrom thought Collins’ reading was “all together, a seamless evening of joy.”

Billy Collins has agreed to teach his poetry seminar again, so if you are interested in his work or like poetry, you should consider signing up for his class this fall.

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