Synopses & Reviews
Over the past decade, Billy Collins has emerged as the most beloved American poet since Robert Frost, garnering critical acclaim and broad popular appeal. Annie Proulx admits, "I have never before felt possessive about a poet, but I am fiercely glad that Billy Collins is ours." John Updike proclaims his poems "consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides."
This special, limited edition celebrates Billy Collins's years as U.S. Poet Laureate. Picnic, Lightning one of the books that helped establish and secure his reputation and popularity during the 1990s combines humor and seriousness, wit and sublimity. His poems touch on a wide range of subjects, from jazz to death, from weather to sex, but share common ground where the mind and heart can meet. Whether reading him for the first time or the fiftieth, this collector's edition is a must-have for anyone interested in the poet the New York Times calls simply "the real thing."
"Billy Collins's poetry is widely accessible. He writes in an original way about all manner of ordinary things and situations with both humor and a surprising contemplative twist." James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress announcing the appointment of Billy Collins as Poet Laureate
"Billy Collins, America's poet laureate, 'hits you between the eyes' with his 'twisted' take on everyday life." U.S. News & World Report
"Billy Collins writes a kind of poetry that is...graceful, inviting, generous-hearted, able to treat engagingly of life's pleasures as well as its pain....Entering a poem by Mr. Collins is like entering a comfortable yet beautifully appointed guet room; for the time being, it will give you all that you need." The Washington Times
"Nobody else today writes quite like Collins, and few indeed write any better." X. J. Kennedy
"Billy Collins writes lovely poems-lovely in a way almost nobody's since Roethke's are. Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides." John Updike
"Billy Collins's poetry is heartbreakingly beautiful. It is also wise, funny, and brilliant. My ten favorites keep shifting all the time. Ovid is in again; so is Billy Collins." Gerald Stern
"The easy swing of Collins's lines reflect his love of jazz and his ready response to beauty; the warmth of his voice emanates from his instinct for pleasure and his propensity toward humor....Collins is jazzman and Buddhist, charmer and prince." Booklist
To celebrate Billy Collinss years as U.S. Poet Laureate, we are pleased to announce this special hardcover edition of one of the books that helped establish and secure his reputation in the 1990s.
About the Author
Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, has five books of poetry in addition to this one: Picnic, Lightning, The Art of Drowning, a finalist for the 1996 Lenore Marshall Prize, The Apple That Astonished Paris, Pokerface and Video Poems. His poetry has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and periodicals, including Poetry, American Scholar, Harper's, Paris Review, and The New Yorker. His work has been in the Pushcart Prize anthology and The Best American Poetry for 1992, 1993, and 1997, and he has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the NEA, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is professor of English at Lehman College, CUNY, and a visiting writer at Sarah Lawrence.