Billy Collins (b.1941,) fully William James Collins, is an American poet. His accessible verse—distinguished with gentle humor and an observant appreciation for the mundane—has made him one of the most popular poets in the United States.
Born in New York City, Collins was educated at the College of the Holy Cross and the University of California at Riverside. His Ph.D. dissertation was on “Wordsworth and the Romantic Search for an Audience.”
Named Poet Laureate of the United States for 2001–03, Collins appears often on public radio. As poet laureate consultant to the Library of Congress, he developed an initiative called “Poetry 180” to help high school students appreciate poetry. He also edited the supplementary anthologies Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (2003) and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day (2005.)