From Calhoun:

Renowned poet Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate for 2001-2003, will be the featured writer for Calhoun Community College’s 17th Annual Writer’s Conference, Wednesday, November 29 and Thursday, November 30, 2017. The November 29 session will be held at the Jackson Center, 6001 Moquin Drive, Huntsville, beginning at 7:00pm. The November 30 event is planned for 1:00 pm at The Princess Theatre, 112 Second Avenue, NE, Decatur. Both sessions are free and open to the public.

This year’s Writers Conference will also include a ticketed “Meet and Greet” with Collins, scheduled for November 29 at 5:30pm at the Jackson Center. Tickets for the Meet and Greet are $50 each, with proceeds from this event going to fund Calhoun’s Wendy Williams Scholarship for English majors. For tickets or more information on the Writers Conference, visit

Considered the “The Most Popular Poet in America” by the New York Times, Collins sees his poetry as a “form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious”. 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.

Acclaimed author John Updike praised Collins for writing “lovely poems…Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.” However, Collins has offered a slightly different take on his appeal, admitting that his poetry is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.”

Collins’s level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry: his readings regularly sell out, and he received a six-figure advance when he moved publishers in the late 1990s. He served two terms as the US Poet Laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and is a regular guest on National Public Radio programs. In 2002, as U.S. Poet Laureate, Collins was asked to write a poem commemorating the first anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11. The reading was in front of a joint session of Congress held outside of Washington D.C.

Collins earned a BA degree from the College of the Holy Cross, and both an MA and PhD from the University of California-Riverside. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts and has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York, where he is a Distinguished Professor. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute in Florida, and a faculty member at the State University of New York-Stonybrook.

For more information on Calhoun’s Writers Conference or the Meet and Greet with Billy Collins, call 256-306-2560 or visit the Calhoun website at

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