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October 2001

Campuses Mobilize After Terrorist Attack

CUNY's "Success Express" Highlights Grads
Freshman Enrollment Rises at CUNY
First Festival Presented by Gotham Center
CUNY TV enhances recruiting outreach
U.S. Cheers Poet Laureate: Prof. Billy Collins
A Dream of Food On Washington Mall
Navy League Award to Hunter Physicist
Nine Leading Scholars Named Distinguished Professors
Haitian First Lady, CCNY Alumna, Feted
Baruch College Opens Vertical Campus
Historic Matters
Baruch Center Confronts Quality of Urban Life
Hunter College Historian Communes with the Saints
A Displaced Person Discovers His Place on Campus
CUNY Students Vault into Poll Work
Double Play for CUNY Broadcasters
Bronx (and U.S.) Cheer Poet Laureate:
Lehman College’s Billy Collins


billy collinsOn June 20 the news broke that Lehman College’s newly appointed Distinguished Professor of English Billy Collins, faculty member since 1969, will be the nation’s next Poet Laureate, succeeding Stanley Kunitz. Asked what his initial reaction was to joining the august ranks of American bards, Collins summoned up a characteristically bemusing image: “It came completely out of the blue, like a soft wrecking ball from outer space.”

Since his Questions About Angels appeared in 1991, Collins has published several volumes of poetry to increasing acclaim. His ninth collection, Sailing Alone Around the Room, has just appeared from Random House.

Collins officially assumes his Laureate duties—and his office in the Library of Congress—in October, when he delivers his inaugural reading. CUNY•Matters will report more fully on Collins’ Laureate year in a later issue. In the meantime, readers may wish to sample the wry smile of the Collins style in “Sonnet.” Here the poet offers a subversive take on the intricate Petrarchan/Shakespearean sonnet form that is a little more bumptious than Wordsworth’s genteel “Scorn Not the Sonnet.”