We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Billy Collins takes readers on improbable mental journeys sparked by the smallest stimuli—think Coolio in “Fantastic Voyage,” but if he were a former U.S. Poet Laureate and the song was a glimpse into the sadness of the universe inspired by a rubber ducky. In “The Flâneur,” a poem in his newly released collection Horoscopesfor the Dead, Collins starts on a stroll in Florida and ends up in a state of cosmic recollection by way of an imagined Paris, a suitable arc for a poet whose best work routinely journeys from the situational to the metaphysical. A remarkably accessible writer whose short, prosaic verse has made him a rare best-selling poet, Collins demystifies his medium while reminding us of its allure. Maybe something really mundane you tell him at tonight’s reading will inspire a poem about the dark humor of mortality! Or maybe he’ll just sign your book.
Billy Collins speaks at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.