Bright Wings

Bright Wings

An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds

By Billy Collins (Editor); David Allen Sibley (Illustrator)

Columbia University Press, Hardcover, 9780231150842, 268pp.

Publication Date: December 2009


In this beautiful collection of poems and paintings, Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, joins with David Allen Sibley, America's foremost bird illustrator, to celebrate the winged creatures that have inspired so many poets to sing for centuries. From Catullus and Chaucer to Robert Browning and James Wright, poets have long treated birds as powerful metaphors for beauty, escape, transcendence, and divine expression.

Here, in this substantial anthology, more than one hundred contemporary and classic poems are paired with close to sixty original, ornithologically precise illustrations. Part poetry collection, part field guide, part art book, "Bright Wings" presents verbal and visual interpretations of the natural world and reminds us of our intimate connection to the "bright wings" around us. Each in their own way, these poems and pictures honor the enchanting creatures that have been, and continue to be, longtime collaborators with the poet's and painter's art.

Poet and bird pairings include: Wallace Stevens and the Blackbird; Emily Dickinson and the Robin; Marianne Moore and the Frigate Pelican; Thomas Hardy and the Goldfinch; Sylvia Plath and the Pheasant; John Updike and the Seagull; Walt Whitman and the Eagle; Billy Collins and the Sparrow.

About the Author
Billy Collins was the Poet Laureate of the United States and the State of New York. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College and a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute. A Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and author of many collections of poetry, including Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds and Horoscopes for the Dead, he lives in Westchester, New York.

Sibley is the son of Ornithologist Fred Sibley. He began watching and drawing birds at age 7. Since 1980 he has traveled the continent watching birds on his own and as a tour leader for WINGS, Inc.