Billy Collins, former United States Poet Laureate
Every year the Folger Poetry Board selects a distinguished poet to read from his or her work as well as the work of those the poet cites as an influence.
Named “the most popular poet in America” by The New York Times, Billy Collins is the author of several volumes of poetry, most recently The Rain in Portugal. He is a former United States Poet Laureate, and his many honors and awards include the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.
From Introduction to Poetry
…I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore…
Excerpt from Billy Collins, “Introduction to Poetry” from The Apple that Astonished Paris. Copyright ©1988, 1996 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press.
This reading is co-sponsored with the Folger Shakespeare Library.