In 2001, Billy Collins entered a two-year residency as poet laureate of the United States. In 2011, he’ll be assuming a 13-day post at Vanderbilt University. Employing a decidedly plain-spoken style, Collins does not shy from any subject matter. He has written on topics ranging from students’ marginalia to industrialization, from the meta-sonnet to turning 10 years old. His work carries a disarming dry humor, perfectly ingrained with the nostalgia poetry alone can capture. Following the inception of his “Poetry 180” program to help bring well-written contemporary poetry to high school students each day of the school year, Collins came under fire in literary circles for promoting what critics deemed “accessible poetry.” Such gainsayers argue, by and large, that poetry that isn’t enigmatic usually isn't good. Yet Collins' own work benefits from clarity, precision and direct connection to his audience, and each successive poem at his reading is sure to get many uh-huh’s and the ever-popular silent head nod. Collins has authored 13 original collections, most recently this year's Horoscopes for the Dead. This event is one you won't want to miss. A reception and book signing will follow the free reading.