BY ALICE GORMAN - Amazing and wonderful things keep happening in Boca Grande. The Johann Fust Community Library has announced that a special presentation will be made by former Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, in Boca Grande on November 15.
This event is to be held at the auditorium of the Community Center, with a reception at a special home in Boca Grande to follow is made possible by a generous grant from the Park Foundation and Northern Trust. It will serve as the kickoff of a community capital campaign to raise the funding necessary for the renovation project to preserve the library and to assure its future. Seating will be limited. Tickets will be available in the fall of 2012.
As a reminder, last year the board of directors of the library made the decision to work out an agreement with Lee County Library Systems to move their facilities in the Lee County Reference Room at the Boca Grande Community Center to the Fust Library. As part of the agreement, the library offered to raise the funds to renovate their facility. They will be bringing the existing spaces up to modern library standards, and will add new spaces beyond the garden for a children’s library and secret garden, as well as a media center.
Although advance gifts have been extremely generous, the library is counting on an active campaign in the Boca Grande community to complete the necessary fund-raising. Many residents and visitors who have always loved the library and understand the need for this renovation have voluntarily expressed a desire to participate in the campaign.
That opportunity will begin in November with the fabulous Billy Collins event.
For all who know the work of Billy Collins, he needs very little introduction. His biography is extensive and impressive. For anyone who does not know his work, he or she has a great treat in store. His poem called “Forgetfulness” is a classic amusement for all human beings, but particularly for a retired community.
Billy Collins was born in 1941 in New York City. He earned a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, and both an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California-Riverside.
He is the author of several books of poetry, including Ballistics (2008), She Was Just Seventeen (2006), The Trouble with Poetry (2005); Nine Horses (2002); Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Questions About Angels (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).
His poetry has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and a variety of periodicals, including “Poetry,” “American Poetry Review,” “American Scholar,” “Harper’s,” “Paris Review” and “The New Yorker.” According to the Poetry Foundation, Collins’s level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry: his readings regularly sell out, and his books are collected by fans all over the world. Bruce Weber of the New York Times has referred to him as “the most popular poet in America.”
Alice Gorman works closely with the Johann Fust Library, and is a member of their board.
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