Billy Collins
Poet; Former U.S. Poet Laureate

How will this age be remembered?

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By our technology or our behavior?

Billy Collins

One of the most popular living poets in the United States, Billy Collins was born in New York City in 1941. Collins is the author of nine books of poetry, including She Was Just Seventeen (2006), The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems (2005), Nine Horses (2002), and Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001). His work appears regularly in such periodicals as Poetry, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Harper's Magazine, and has been featured in various textbooks and anthologies, including those for the Pushcart Prize and the annual Best American Poetry series. Between 2001 and 2004, Collins served two terms at the 11th Poet Laureate of the United States. In his home state, Collins has been recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004. Other honors include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and the first annual Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College in the Bronx, where has taught for over thirty years. Ideas recorded at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival on: 7/4/07

Billy Collins: That’s huge. I mean, probably as an age of technology, I think.  You know the . . . the future . . . the wars of the past quickly become wars of the past because we’re over the trauma of them.  I think Vietnam still lingers, but if you think of the enormity of World War II has been packed into historical crates and put in the warehouse pretty much.  And the wars that are going on now I think might have . . . I hope have the sense of dimming with historical perspective.  Probably technological.  You know, the microchips and technology and all of that.  But who knows? I’m not sure.  I think it’ll be measured by its inventions rather than its repetition of historical patterns.