Billy Collins News
Aiken Taylor Award Winner Billy Collins has been named the editor of the Miller Williams Poetry Series and Prize, published by the University of Arkansas Press. As Collins fans will know, the former Poet Laureate is uniquely suited for the job—his first book of poetry, The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988), was published by the University of Arkansas Press while Miller Williams served as its director.
"The driving values of the series and the prize will be consonant with William's sense of what constitutes good poetry. . . . In his practice as a poet and his work as an editor, Williams favored poetry that showed an awareness of its reader, poetry that was plain spoken but also dealt with the most essential experiences of being human. He also preferred poems that were interested in making the reader feel something rather than poems that were just expressing the plight of the poet. And a bit of humor never hurt, especially if it issued forth from a sensibility that couldn’t help viewing the world from an ironic angle.”
In other Collins's news, as the New York Times recently pointed out, Billy Collins has sold his papers to the University of Texas. The announcement comes packaged with an anecdote illustrating the sometimes hilarious spontaneity of writing poetry.
"I remember one occasion when the lines of a poem occurred to me while I was walking around the city with no pen and nothing to write on. So I ducked into a bank and started writing the poem, standing up, on the backs of deposit slips. I used the bank pen that was attached to a desk with a chain, all of which made for a rather short poem. I tried to look very serious as if I were making a monster deposit.”