About the Poets
Billy Collins is the author of twelve collections of poetry, including The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. He is a distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Winter Park Institute of Rollins College.
Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and New York State Poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a founding advisory board member of the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies at Lehman College. Collins has taught and served as a visiting writer at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York as well as teaching workshops across the U.S. and in Ireland.
As Poet Laureate, Collins instituted the program Poetry 180 for high schools. Collins chose 180 poems for the program and the accompanying book, Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry—one for each day of the school year. Collins edited a second anthology, 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Every Day to refresh the supply of available poems. The program is online, and poems are available there for no charge.
The U.S. magazine Poetry has awarded Collins five prizes in recognition of poems they published during the 1990s. The magazine also selected him as "Poet of the Year" in 1994. In 2005 Collins was the first annual recipient of its Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and in 1993, from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself.
Poet Richard Howard has said of Collins: “He has a remarkably American voice…that one recognizes immediately as being of the moment and yet has real validity besides, reaching very far into what verse can do.”
Read more about Billy Collins and his work here.
Tracy K. Smith is the author of the memoir Ordinary Light and four books of poetry: Wade in the Water, (April 2018); Life on Mars, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize; Duende, recipient of the 2006 James Laughlin Award; and The Body's Question, which won the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith is also the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Award and a Whiting Award. She was the Literature protégé in the 2009-2011 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She iscurrently the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts.
In June 2017 she was named the 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by the Library of Congress, and in March 2018 she was re-appointed to a second term for 2018-19. During her first year as poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith launched a program of readings and discussions in rural communities in New Mexico, South Carolina and Kentucky. Her goal was not to instruct but simply to share her love of poetry and to listen to how others experience it. As part of her second term, Smith has edited an anthology called “American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time.” The anthology will be published in September 2018 by Graywolf Press in association with the Library of Congress.
"The surfaces of a Tracy K. Smith poem are beautiful and serene, but underneath, there is always a sense of an unknown vastness. Her poems take the risk of inviting us to imagine, as the poet does, what it is to travel in another person’s shoes.” —Toi Derricotte
Read more about Tracy K. Smith and her work here.
Anne Waldman is an active member of the Outrider experimental poetry movement, and has been connected to the Beat movement and the second generation of the New York School. She has published over forty books of poetry, including Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to be Born (2016); Gossamurmur (2013); The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (2011); Manatee/Humanity (2009); Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble (2004); In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, 1985–2003 2003); Dark Arcana / Afterimage or Glow (2003), with photographs by Patti Smith; Vow to Poetry (2001); Marriage: A Sentence (2000); Kill or Cure (1994); Iovis: All Is Full of Love (1993); Fast Speaking Woman (1974); and Baby Breakdown (1970). Her work can also be found in numerous films, videos, and sound recordings.
Her commitment to poetry extends beyond her own work to her support of alternative poetry communities. She was one of the founders and directors of The Poetry Project at St. Marks’s Church In-the-Bowery. She also co-founded with Allen Ginsberg and Diane diPrima the celebrated Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, the first Buddhist inspired University in the western hemisphere, in 1974. She is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics at Naropa and continues to work to preserve the school’s substantial literary/oral archive and curate the celebrated Summer Writing Program.
Waldman is a recipient of the Before Columbus Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, bestowed on her by Ishmael Reed, American Book Award’s Lifetime Achievement, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and has served six years as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. The Huffington Post named her one of the top advocates for American poetry.
Read more about Anne Waldman and her work here.
Paul Muldoon is an Irish poet and professor of poetry, as well as an editor, critic, and translator. He is also the founder of the Sharon Springs Poetry Festival. The author of twelve major collections of poetry, Muldoon's work includes One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (2015), Maggot (2010), Horse Latitudes (2006), Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), Hay (1998), The Annals of Chile (1994), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), Meeting the British (1987), Quoof (1983),Why Brownlee Left (1980), Mules (1977) and New Weather (1973). He has also published innumerable smaller collections, works of criticism, opera libretti, books for children, song lyrics and radio and television drama. His poetry has been translated into twenty languages.
In addition to being much in demand as a reader and lecturer, he occasionally appears with a spoken word music group, Rogue Oliphant. With his wife, American novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, he adapted James Joyce's "The Dead" as an immersive, site-specific play, "The Dead, 1904."
Paul Muldoon is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he has received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature, the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2006 European Prize for Poetry, the 2017 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and the 2018 Seamus Heaney Award for Arts & Letters. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from ten universities.
"The most significant English-language poet born since the second World War." Times Literary Supplement
"One of the great poets of the past hundred years, who can be everything in his poems - word-playful, lyrical, hilarious, melancholy. And angry. Only Yeats before him could write with such measured fury." Roger Rosenblatt, New York Times Book Review
Read more about Paul Muldoon and his work here.
About the Poets
Major Jackson is an American poet, professor and the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company (W.W. Norton, 2010) and Hoops (W.W. Norton, 2006), both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. He is also a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.
Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.
"Major Jackson makes poems that rumble and rock." - Dorianne Laux
Read more about Major Jackson and his work here.
Robert Pinsky is a poet, essayist, translator, teacher, and speaker. His first two terms as United States Poet Laureate were marked by such visible dynamism—and such national enthusiasm in response—that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term. Throughout his career, Pinsky has been dedicated to identifying and invigorating poetry’s place in the world.
Known worldwide, Pinsky’s work has earned him the PEN/Voelcker Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize, Italy’s Premio Capri, the Korean Manhae Award, and the Harold Washington Award from the City of Chicago, among other accolades.
Pinsky is a professor of English and creative writing in the graduate writing program at Boston University. In 2015 the university named him a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, the highest honor bestowed on senior faculty members who are actively involved in teaching, research, scholarship, and university civic life.
“No other living American poet—no other living American, probably—has done so much to put poetry before the public eye.” New York Times Sunday Book Review
Read more about Robert Pinsky and his work here.
Monica Youn is the author of three books of poetry, most recently BLACKACRE (Graywolf Press 2016), which won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Open Book Award and was longlisted for the National Book Award, as well as being named one of the best poetry collections of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post and BuzzFeed. Her previous book IGNATZ (Four Way Books 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her poems have been widely published, including in Poetry, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Lana Turner, The Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry. The daughter of Korean immigrants and a former lawyer, she was raised in Houston, Texas, and now lives in New York.