Author(s): Billy Collins
However arresting, outlandish, or hilarious, the poems in Horoscopes for the Dead are typically prompted by the familiar things of the world: dogs, stars, food, love and marriage as well as life's local triumphs and disappointments, joys and shames. Collins' gift is to unlock the mysterious in the ordinary, and he is always careful to take his reader with him. Indeed, no other living poet has done more to reengage and revitalize poetry's readership, or so deservedly earned its trust. Few poets have his ability to mix bold, unadorned statements with lyric invention and imaginative richness. And here in these new poems, Collins' inimitable tone - wry, smart, funny, and wise - takes on a darker shade, as the poems declare a deep awareness of transience and mortality. The result is the revelation of a world more precious, more fragile, richer in colour and form than ever.
Billy Collins has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. A professor of English at Lehman College, he was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States for 2001 to 2003, and Poet Laureate of New York State from 2004 to 2006.