Billy Collins (USA) read with Seamus Heaney for the opening night of the 2008 John Hewitt International Summer School. Such was the demand for tickets that both poets generously agreed to an additional reading the following night. Collins also conducted a Masterclass for the Summer School in 2019 and read with Kathryn Maris.
Described by poet and critic Michael Donaghy as a “rare amalgam of accessibility and intelligence,” Collins is a poet whose name is known internationally. He served two terms as the US poet laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State poet laureate from 2004 -2006, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York, where he is a Distinguished Professor. In 2016, Collins was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His 13th poetry collection, Whale Day (Random House), is forthcoming in 2020.
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