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For Immediate Release:
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Gretchen Johnson

Office of Public Relations
Fairleigh Dickinson University
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Mailstop H-DH3-15
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 692-7032

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(973) 443-8661

U.S. Poet Laureate To Appear in May

Billy Collins in Poetry Reading with Commentary

Teaneck, NJ (April 11, 2002) -- Billy Collins, the current Poet Laureate of the United States, will comment on and read from his poetry at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The Gene Barnett Literary Society is presenting this special evening with Billy Collins that includes an audience question-and-answer period and book signing.

In announcing the Poet Laureate appointment last June, Librarian of Congress James Billington said, "He writes in an original way about all manner of ordinary things and situations with both humor and a surprising contemplative twist."

Whether writing about a barking dog, shoveling snow, jazz, tea, or insomnia, Collins is more than humorous. John Updike has called his poems "limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides."

He has been characterized as "the bard of simple things" and the poet with the "blue jeans kind of style." Collins has said that he wants to give readers the sensation that they’ve traveled. "At the end," he said, "I want them to know they’ve been taken on an imaginative journey." He uses his poem "Osso Bucco" to make the point. "We start in the confines of the kitchen and end up at the center of the earth. That’s a good example of travel."

Collins’ latest book "Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems," has turned into a runaway poetic bestseller. Other books of poetry by Collins include "Picnic, Lightning," "The Art of Drowning" (finalist, Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize); "Questions About Angels" (National Poetry Series); "The Apple That Astonished Paris," "Video Poems," and "Pokerface."

He is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, and he has taught there for more than three decades. He believes he may be the only Poet Laureate who shares an office with another professor. Collins earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside.

Tickets for Collins’ appearance at Fairleigh Dickinson, at $8 per person, are available on the night of the lecture beginning at 7:15 p.m. in Wilson Auditorium, Dickinson Hall, on the Hackensack side of the campus. There is no advance ticket sale. For further information, call 201 692 2263.

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