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Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

About Billy Collins at the Library of Congress

Billy Collins served as the Library of Congress's 11th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 2001-2003. The links below provide more information about his activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.

On June 21, 2001, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Billy Collins to be the 11th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

Collins took up his duties in fall 2001, giving his inaugural reading on December 6. View the event webcast here:

During his second term in 2002, Billy Collins launched Poetry 180, an online project designed to give high school students a chance to listen to or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. Of the project's inception, Collins said:

Hearing a poem every day, especially well-written, contemporary poems that students do not have to analyze, might convince students that poetry can be an understandable, painless and even eye-opening part of their everyday experience.

Poetry 180 creates easy access for students to listen to and read poetry, and remains one of the most popular projects on the Library of Congress website. Collins still frequently updates the project to this day.

Due to the project's success, Billy Collins went on to publish two Poetry 180 print anthologies as companions to the online program; each anthology comprises 180 additional poems written by modern poets.

At the National Book Festival in 2002, Billy Collins introduced the project and invited local high school students on stage to read some of their favorite poems from the Poetry 180 website. View the event webcast here:

Billy Collins has been featured on both the Poetry and Literature Center's blog, From the Catbird Seat, and on the Library's main blog. Those blog posts are linked below:

The Library of Congress features several recordings of Billy Collins reading and discussing his poetry and the poetry of other poets. These are listed below.


Other Recordings