Author News and Book Reports

Billy Collins goes 'ballistic' with a touch of deadpan humor
MacArthur Foundation genius award winning poet Campbell McGrath presented a literary portrait of each of two former U.S. Poet Laureates--Billy Collins (2001-2003) and Robert Hass (1995-1997)--who had each come to read new and selected poems at the 2008 Miami Book Fair International, before introducing arguably America's most popular living poet, Billy Collins. Leading off with a poem titled Monday from his 2005 collection, The Trouble With Poetry, Collins followed with an as yet unpublished poem called Rain, which was written for and read at Writers and Artists Against the Surveillance State, an earlier event at the 2008 Miami Book Fair sponsored by PEN International and the Civil Liberties Union. Next, Collins read the title poem from his new collection Ballistics, which was originally published in hardcover in 2008, but which was recently released in trade paperback (Random House; February, 2010), and the title poem from The Trouble With Poetry collection. Switching back to his new Ballistics collection, Collins read a sonnet called The Golden Years and a fanciful poem titled Hippos On Holiday before reading an older poem from his Picnic, Lightning collection published in 1998 called I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of Three Blind Mice, which was re-printed in his 2002 collection, Sailing Alone Around The Room. Collins wrapped his reading with two more new poems from Ballistics called Oh, My God! and Divorce, and closing with another poem from Picnic, Lightning titled Aristotle.

Book and Author Headlines

Robert Hass plants new seeds in Miami that grow into 'The Apple Trees at Olema': The Pulitzer Prize winning American poet, Robert Hass, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate from1995-1997, reads some new and previously published poems, which are now released in his new collection 'The Apple Trees At Olema'.

Kay Ryan kicks off National Poetry Month with 'The Best Of It': U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan reads poems from four of her collections at the 2009 National Book Festival.

Heather Graham and James Grippando surf the crime waves from Miami to Boston for inspiration: Miami trial lawyer and bestselling author of the Jack Swyteck suspense novels James Grippando and Heather Graham, bestselling author of the Harrison investigation crime novel series, as well as prolific bestselling romance novelist under her married name of Heather Graham Pozzessere, appear at the 2009 Miami Book Fair to surf the crime waves with their fans.

Russell Banks shows he's one of America's leading writers in more ways than one: Russell Banks the history and goals of the Cities of Refuge North America, which he co-founded, and two refugee authors, Irakli Kakabadze of the Republic of Georgia and Sarah Mkhonza of Swaziland, as well as Nobel Prize-winning poet and Cities of Refuge Executive Director Derek Walcott.

James Patterson has so many story ideas he needs 'co-writers' to write them all: America's most prolific bestselling author, James Patterson takes time out from writing to talk about his career at the 2009 National Book Festival.

Van Lustbader, Hogan, Chevalier, and Powell go Hollywood (for better or worse): Bestselling authors Eric Lustbader, Chuck Hogan, Tracy Chevalier, and Julie Powell discuss the leap from book to movie with Booklist editor Brad Hooper at the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Cornel West walks the tightrope of hope, living and loving out loud in the Age of Obama: American moral and religious philosopher, author, critic, actor, and civil rights activist Cornel West reviews American myths and politics in the Age of Obama in an interview with PBS-TV and Public Radio International host Tavis Smiley at the 2009 BookExpo America (BEA) book trade show.

Elizabeth Gilbert finds commitment in the aftermath of 'Eat, Pray, Love': Appearing at the 2010 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter meeting, Elizabeth Gilbert describes how she overcame anxieties and doubt, finding committment in marriage and her own voice to write the book that followed her meteoric memoir 'Eat, Pray, Love.'

Andy Borowitz and Susie Essman rock book lovers and bring down the house in Miami: Andy Borowitz and Susie Essman team up at the the final event of the 2009 Miami Book Fair International for an evening finale of their special brands of satire blended withironic reflections on their own comedy careers.

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