Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins returns to the Library with his newest book of poems, Musical Tables. This time, he will be in conversation with Antoinette Brim-Bell, Connecticut's poet laureate.
“Whenever I pick up a new book of poems, I flip through the pages looking for small ones. 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.” —Billy Collins
Now “America’s favorite poet” (The Wall Street Journal) has found a new form for his unique poetic style: the small poem. Here, Collins writes about his trademark themes of nature, animals, poetry, mortality, absurdity, and love — all in a handful of lines. Neither haiku nor limerick, the small poem pushes to an extreme poetry’s famed power to condense emotional and conceptual meaning.
Inspired by the small poetry of writers as diverse as William Carlos Williams, W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, and Charles Simic, and written with Collins’s recognizable wit and wisdom, the poems of Musical Tables show one of our greatest poets channeling his unique voice into a new phase of his exceptional career.
Billy Collins is the former poet laureate of the United States. He is the author of 12 collections of poetry, including the bestsellers Aimless Love, The Trouble with Poetry, and Sailing Alone Around the Room. He is also the editor of Poetry 180, 180 More, and Bright Wings. A former distinguished professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York, Collins served as New York State poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Antoinette Brim-Bell, Connecticut’s 8th state poet laureate, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: These Women You Gave Me, Icarus in Love, and Psalm of the Sunflower. She is a Cave Canem foundation fellow and an alumna of Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA). Her poetry has appeared in various journals, magazines, textbooks, and anthologies, and has appeared in Poetry Magazine and Poem-a-Day. Brim-Bell is a professor of English at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut, and serves as secretary of the board of directors of Indolent Arts Foundation based in New York City, is a past board member of OneWorld Progressive Institute, and a past president of the board of directors of the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut. Additionally, Brim-Bell hosted a series of Black History Month television programs for the OneWorld Progressive Institute.