Poetry Wins on Super Bowl Sunday
Billy Collins, one of the nation’s best-selling poets and a former U.S. Poet Laureate, read from his poetry at the Weinberg Center in Frederick, Maryland. Collins has been described as an American phenomenon who rivals Robert Frost in popularity and critical acclaim.
But … poetry before football?
Yes, it was Super Bowl Sunday. And yes, this was a poetry reading. But, believe it or not, the venue was packed! They were sending people to the bleachers (or rather the balcony) because there weren’t enough seats in the theater to hold all of the audience members who had come to latch onto Billy’s poetic lines.
When I contacted The Weinberg Center after the event, they confirmed that there were approximately 700 people in attendance.
“The crowd came from near and far,” said Elizabeth Cromwell, Chairwoman of the Frederick Reads Committee. “In a few moments in the lobby, I heard attendees saying they had driven in from Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, the Eastern Shore, and more. I even met a lady who came to Maryland from Maine when she heard about the reading."
Frederick Reads brought Billy Collins to Frederick for the reading, in partnership with the Weinberg Center and the C. Burr Artz Trust.
Elizabeth had expected good turnouts for other authors who visited in the past year, such as Alexander McCall Smith and David Sedaris. In fact, David Sedaris is slated to return on Saturday, April 4.
But poetry? On Super Bowl Sunday?
“We didn't know how a poet would be received here, even one as highly regarded as Billy Collins,” said Elizabeth. “You can imagine my delight at seeing so many people in attendance.”
Indeed, it was worth putting down the chicken wings and beer … if only for an hour or two. And getting to meet and talk with Billy Collins after the reading was a pleasure.
Learn more about the Weinberg Center for the Arts at their website.
Find out about Frederick Reads at their page.
Share a cigarette with Billy Collins at the link below.