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Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to Speak at Widener

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will visit Widener February 24 (photo by Steven Kovich)

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will speak at Widener University at 1 p.m. Monday, February 24 in Lathem Hall at 13th and Potter Streets in Chester. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. to reserve seating, call 610-499-4112 or e-mail

Collins' work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry, and his readings -- enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio – are usually standing room only.

Collins has published many collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels; The Art of Drowning; Picnic, Lightning; Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes; Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems; Nine Horses; The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems; Ballistics; She was Just Seventeen; Horoscopes for the Dead; and most recently, Aimless Love.

Included among the honors Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry.

Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003 and was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06. He is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York and a senior distinguished fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.

Collins' appearance at Widener will be in advance of his sold-out evening appearance as part of the Philadelphia Speakers Series presented by Widener at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Now in its tenth sold-out season, the Philadelphia Speakers Series offers annual subscribers the opportunity to spend an evening with Pulitzer and Nobel Peace Prize winners, world leaders, statesmen, distinguished journalists, authors and other celebrated personalities. For more information about the Philadelphia Speakers Series and the lineup of speakers for the 2013-14 season, visit

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free university. Visit the university's website,