Ten Evenings

Billy Collins

“This is the best kind of love, I thought, without recompense, without gifts, or unkind words, without suspicion, or silence on the telephone.”

Billy Collins, Aimless Love

From the former United States Poet Laureate and New York Times bestselling author of Aimless Love, a wondrous new collection of poems focused on the joy and mystery of daily life.

In these sixty new poems, Billy Collins mixes the straightforward and the elusive to write about the beauties and ironies of everyday experience. A poem is best, he feels, when it begins in clarity and ends with a whiff of mystery. In Water, Water we learn how vigilance and a respect for the peripheral can result in moments of interest and delight. A cat leans to drink from a swimming pool; a nurse calls a name in a waiting room; an astronaut recites Emily Dickinson from outer space—such common and uncommon events are captured here with equal fascination. In a voice both conversational and melodic, hospitable and lyrical, informal but steadied by form, this poet asks us to tap the brakes and slow down so as to glimpse the elevated in the ordinary, the odd in the familiar. It’s no surprise that The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both call Collins one of America’s favorite poets.

Billy Collins is the author of twelve collections of poetry including The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. A former Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York, Collins served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and as New York State Poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Florida with his wife Suzannah.

“A poet of plentitude, irony, and Augustan grace.”



Copies of Water Water are available to pre-order (publishes on November 19) from White Whale Bookstore. After the lecture, the author will sign books in the Music Hall Foyer.


November 18, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. ET


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Carnegie Music Hall (Oakland)


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Upcoming Lectures

Anna Monardo

MAY 23

Liann Tsoukas and Rob Ruck

JUN 20

Colm Toibin

SEP 16

Pico Iyer

SEP 30