One Book, One Batavia 2011










Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry

selected by Billy Collins








Kevin Stein

Poet Laureate of Illinois



About the Book


Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry

selected by Billy Collins


Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry is a compilation of 180 poems selected by Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States (2001–2003). During his tenure as Poet Laureate, Collins initiated a poem-a-day program, which encouraged high school students to listen to a poem every day of the school year. The poems included in the program and subsequently in the book are—in Collins’ words—“short, clear, and contemporary.” Collins is known for the humorous tone of many of his poems; that spirit is evident in his Introduction to this collection.


About the Editor


Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003. He has written 12 books of poetry, which include Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems, Ballistics, and The Trouble with Poetry. In 2004, Collins was the first recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for 30 years. Collins is one of America’s best-selling poets.




One Book, One Batavia Main Event

Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein discussed poetry’s public functions, as well as his role as poet laureate. Stein read from his work, and a book signing followed the presentation. 


Books Between Bites

Presented by Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein. At a time when many commentators fixate on American poetry’s supposed“death,” Stein proposes the vitality of its aesthetic hereafter. Instead of pushing up aesthetic daisies, poetry, Stein contends, is up and about on the streets, schools, and universities, as well as online in new digital forms.


Walt Whitman: A Song of Myself

Presenter Brian Ellis portrayed Walt Whitman, America’s preeminent poet. Hear the story of Whitman’s life and his philosophy of free verse, and experience the eloquence of his work.


Emily Dickinson, Belle of Amherst

Professional storyteller and actress Paddy Lynn performed a condensed version of William Luce’s brilliant play The Belle of Amherst, and discussed the complexities and the trials and tribulations of this beloved and prolific poet.  


The Ghosts of Edgar Allan Poe

A spine-tingling evening in the parlor of Edgar Allan Poe, as presented by Brian "Fox" Ellis, as he recounted the tormented true tales of his life and how they led to his poetry and classic tales of terror. Do not look away as the father of the modern horror story reveals the darkness that lurks in us all, taking us on a journey into the catacombs of our basest fears. Hear him recite “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” as well as some of his lesser known poems like “The Bells” and “Dream Within a Dream.” Poe also shared his essay on his “Philosophy of Composition” which outlines in some detail how he works as a poet. His work has inspired generations of writers, writers that have dared to follow in his daunting footsteps.


Poetry Workshop

Reading and writing poetry enhances our awareness of the world around us. Through practice we can find ideas for poems in our daily experiences. In this workshop, poets can exercise the playfulness of free writing and together improvise ideas to work from writer's block toward a poem's creation.


Open Mike

Now, the spotlight is on you! Share your work with fellow poets and an appreciative audience. It’s live, it’s relevant, and it’s yours!


Book Discussion

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry selected by Billy Collins


Batavia High School Student Glogs 


What's a glog? A glog is an online, interactive poster.