Poetrylife’s Poetry in Paradise Festival, traditionally held each spring in Sarasota, Florida, is adding a special, one-day-only event to its offerings for 2016, a winter edition on Saturday, February 20th featuring guest poets Billy Collins (US Poet Laureate 2001-2003) and Marie Howe (New York State Poet Laureate 2012-2014)

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BOOKSTORE1 POETRYLIFE ADDS SPECIAL WINTER EDITION

Poetrylife’s Poetry in Paradise Festival, traditionally held each spring in Sarasota, Florida, is adding a special, one-day-only event to its offerings for 2016, a winter edition on Saturday, February 20th featuring guest poets Billy Collins (US Poet Laureate 2001-2003) and Marie Howe (New York State Poet Laureate 2012-2014). The artists will be available during two scheduled events. The first is a Poetry Power Luncheon and Panel Discussion focusing on the value—and joys—of teaching poetry in middle, high school and college classrooms. That event begins at noon (doors open at 11:30 am) at Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 North Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Tickets for the luncheon are $35. The second event is in the evening. Beginning at 7:00 o’clock, Collins and Howe will read from their own work, then engage in conversation with the audience at Mildred Sainer Pavilion on the campus of New College of Florida, 5313 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, Florida. Tickets are $25. All tickets may be obtained through Florida Studio Theatre by calling 941-366-9000 or going online to www.poetrylife.org. Proceeds go to benefit The PoetryLife Fund, a support for educators teaching poetry in the community.

“Last Spring, Billy Collins was the featured poet at Poetrylife,” explained Georgia Court, founder of Poetrylife and owner of Bookstore1 in Sarasota. “Due to Collins’ popularity, all events were sold out. We are very excited to have been able to create another opportunity for the public to meet and enjoy his work, along with another poet superstar, Marie Howe.”

According to the Poetry Foundation website, Billy Collins has been “dubbed ‘the most popular poet in America’ by Bruce Weber in the New York Times. Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. John Updike praised Collins for writing ‘lovely poems…Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.’ But Collins has offered a slightly different take on his appeal, admitting that his poetry is ‘suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.’ Collins’s level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry: his readings regularly sell out. He served two terms as the US Poet Laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and is a regular guest on National Public Radio programs.

Also from the Poetry Foundation website, “Howe has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, and NYU. She coedited (with Michael Klein) the essay anthology In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). She has received fellowships from the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She was the Poet Laureate of New York State from 2012 to 2014. She lives in New York City. Her first collection, The Good Thief (1988), was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Margaret Atwood, who praised Howe’s ‘poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.’ In 1989, Howe’s brother John died of an AIDS-related illness. As Howe states in an AGNI interview, ‘John’s living and dying changed my aesthetic completely.’ What the Living Do (1997), an elegy to John, was praised by Publishers Weekly as one of the five best poetry collections of the year. In The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2008), Howe distanced herself from the personal narrative and returned to, as she describes in the AGNI interview, her “obsess[ion] with the metaphysical, the spiritual dimensions of life as they present themselves in this world.” In these poems Howe ‘makes metaphor matter and material metaphysical,’ according to Brenda Shaughnessy in Publishers Weekly.”

General information about PoetryLife is available at www.poetrylife.org.

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