Author: Billy Collins


A native of New York City, Billy Collins (b. 1941) attended the College of the Holy Cross and then earned his PhD in English from the University of California-Riverside. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he published many works of poetry, including Questions about Angels, a 1990 National Poetry Series winner. In 1994, Poetry magazine selected Collins as “Poet of the Year,” and in 2001 he was named Poet Laureate, a position he held until 2003. From 2004 to 2006, he also served as the Poet Laureate for the State of New York. Collins currently teaches English at Lehman College (CUNY), where he joined the faculty in 1968.

American Sonnet

Billy Collins

Billy Collins\' \"American Sonnet\" is pulled from his 1990 National Poetry Series winning collection, Questions About Angels.  The poem compares the traditional Italian or English sonnet to a postcard. Is the sonnet still appropriate to the American experience?