Vermont Press Releases

Vermont Humanities Council presents former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins

NEWS RELEASE — Vermont Humanities Council
September 16, 2013

Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications, 802.262.2626 x302

Reads His Work at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel

A First Wednesdays/Vermont Reads program

Burlington ~ Former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins will speak about and read from his work in a special Vermont Humanities Council event at Burlington’s Ira Allen Chapel on October 2. “An Evening with Billy Collins,” held jointly as a Vermont Reads and First Wednesdays program, takes place at 7:00 pm and is free and open to the public.

Collins’s makes his appearance on behalf of Vermont Reads, VHC’s statewide one-book community reading program. Collins is the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, a poem-a-day anthology and VHC’s 2013 Vermont Reads selection.

Collins’s appearance also opens the new season of First Wednesdays in Chittenden County. It is one of nine talks around the state taking place on the same night as part of First Wednesdays, VHC’s monthly free lecture program taking place October through May.

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Collins join us here in Vermont, and it is a great opportunity to hear and see firsthand why he is so loved and admired,” said Mark Fitzsimmons, VHC’s Vermont Reads director. “His has garnered both critical respect and wide, popular acclaim, an almost unheard-of combination in the world of poetry.”

Collins, whose book is inspired by his poem-a-day program with the Library of Congress, has been one of America’s great ambassadors of poetry. The New York Times has called him “the most popular poet in America,” and he is known internationally for work that is wry, generous, and accessible, and that connects with a wide variety of readers on multiple levels. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry, and has had his work published in Poetry, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Harper’s, Paris Review, and The New Yorker.

“This will be a memorable event, not just for lovers of poetry, but for anybody who admires an acutely observant mind at work,” said Fitzsimmons.

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Essex are held at Brownell Library unless otherwise noted. All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public.

Vermont Reads is VHC’s statewide, one-book community reading program that began in 2003 with Karen Hesse’s Witness. Communities around the state have the opportunity to bring people together to read, discuss, and build activities around the Vermont Reads book. Vermont Reads promotes community-building, open dialogue, intergenerational exchange, a focus on the humanities, and literacy. Currently, fifty-nine Vermont towns are taking part in the program; VHC is still accepting applications from communities for fall participation.

Seating for “An Evening with Billy Collins” is first-come, first-served. Parking is available after 6:00 pm in any UVM lot that is not zoned residential (please avoid these lots or you may be towed). Closest parking to the Iran Allen Chapel is immediately behind the chapel in the Votey Lot, the entrance to which is off Colchester Avenue, directly across the street from Chiropractic Works, LLC.

The Vermont Department of Libraries is the statewide underwriter of First Wednesdays. “An Evening with Billy Collins” is sponsored by the University of Vermont.

Brownell Library is sponsored by Brownell Library Foundation, Friends of the Brownell Library, Kolvoord Overton & Wilson, P.C., Northfield Savings Bank, and Unsworth Law, PLC.

NRG Systems of Hinesburg is the underwriter of the 2013 Vermont Reads program; they have underwritten the program since 2007. The media partner is Vermont Public Radio.

For more information, contact Max Matthews at 802.262.2626 x304 or [email protected], or visit

The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters—of every background and in every community. The Council strives to make Vermont a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life.

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