Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins Returns to The Westport Library

Fri, Nov 11, 2022
EJ Crawford

Billy Collins is making his much-anticipated return to The Westport Library.

Sixteen years after headlining The 2006 Malloy Lecture in the Arts, the former U.S. poet laureate will be in the Library’s Trefz Forum on Friday, December 9, for a conversation with Connecticut Poet Laureate Antoinette Brim-Bell. The two will discuss his new volume, Musical Tables, which focuses on short-form-poetry, or small poems, while keeping to his trademark themes of nature, animals, poetry, mortality, absurdity, and love. 

“Whenever I pick up a new book of poems, I flip through the pages looking for small ones,” Collins said. “Just as I might have trust in an abstract painter more if I knew he or she could draw a credible chicken, I have faith in poets who can go short.” 

The event begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $26 (same price for one or two patrons) and include a signed copy of Musical Tables

“If you know Billy Collins' work, then I’m sure I don’t have to encourage you to see him live,” said Jessica Noyes McEntee, Westport’s poet laureate. “If you haven’t yet explored his oeuvre, this night promises to be delightful. His work has a magical and effortless quality that many of us in the poetry community emulate — and envy!”

Collins is the author of a dozen volumes of poetry, including the bestsellers Aimless LoveThe Trouble with Poetry, and Sailing Alone Around the Room. He is also the editor of Poetry 180, 180 More, and Bright Wings. He was poet laureate of the U.S. from 2001 to 2003 and subsequently served as New York State poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

“Billy Collins is perhaps the most revered poet writing in America today,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “Most communities would count themselves fortunate to see him once in a lifetime. To have him back in Westport for a second time is a thrill beyond measure. And to be joined by Antoinette is a true gift.”

Brim-Bell is the author of three full-length poetry collections, These Women You Gave MeIcarus in Love, and Psalm of the Sunflower. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, magazines, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry Magazine and Poem-a-Day. She is a Cave Canem foundation fellow, an alumna of Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA), and a professor of English at Capital Community College in Hartford. 

For more on Billy Collins Returns to Westport and to purchase your ticket, please visit our dedicated event page.

Ed. note: As of December 6, tickets are now sold out for in-person seating. Please visit here to watch from home on December 9.

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