It is no understatement to say that Billy Collins has found poetry a whole new audience across the English-speaking world. No poet writing today insists on such open, direct and courteous engagement with the reader, and no poet has shown the common experience to be such an astonishing and singular one. Collins' gift is to make the reader believe that everything is unfolding in real time and in living speech; his poetry always has the sheen and vibrancy of the present moment. While Ballistics addresses the most grave and serious of subjects - death and love, solitude and aging - Collins' light touch and lighter spirit never desert him. Even in his darkest verses, Collins never fails to remind us of the sheer miracle, comedy and strangeness of our simply being here.
`The teasing, buoyant images in Ballistics are firmly anchored in visions of too-quiet mornings, droplets of water, cold marble and bare light bulbs. But he now writes, more simply and assuredly than he used to, about the flights of imagination that keep melancholy at bay . . . Ballistics glows with the confidence of a writer fully aware of his work's power to delight' New York Times
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.