How Billy Collins Breathes Light Into the Post-9/11 Darkness

Like Robert Frost Before Him, the Former Poet Laureate Strikes Dissonant Chords That Surprise the American Public

Barron on Billy Collins LEAD

Is there any poet like Robert Frost today? Billy Collins comes close. Unlike so many poets—but very much like Frost—Collins writes work that sells. He was the given the title of U.S. poet laureate and is one of the rare poets featured in popular media, from PBS Newshour, to Prairie Home Companion, to CNN.

With that, I ask this question: What makes Collins’ poetry so captivating to so many?

Robert Frost, 1874-1963.

The answer may lie in the example of Frost, who also had a large public role. In 1961, …

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