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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Current Poet Laureate > Past Poets Laureate: 2001-2010
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2001-2003

Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Collins (1941- ) was born in New York City. He is one of America’s best-selling poets. His books include “Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems” in 2001, “Picnic, Lightning” in 1998, and “The Art of Drowning” in 1995. In October 2004, Collins was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He has served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and he is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 30 years.
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2003-2004

Louise Gluck

Louise Glück

Glück (1943- ) was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She is the author of nine books of poetry, including “The Wild Iris,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. Her poetry book “Ararat” (1990) received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. Other honors include the Bollingen Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. She teaches at Williams College. She is on the faculty of Yale University as Adjunct Professor of English Rosencranz Writer in Residence, Creative Writing. Louise Glück also served as Special Bicentennial Consultant, 1999-2000, along with Rita Dove and W.S. Merwin.
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2004-2006

Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser

Kooser (1939- ), who was born in Ames, Iowa, received his bachelor's degree from Iowa State and his master's in English from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including "Delights & Shadows," which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. His other honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Pushcart Prize and the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia. He is a professor in the English department at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
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2006-2007

Donald Hall

Donald Hall

Hall (1928- ), who was born in New Haven, Conn., received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a bachelor’s in literature from Oxford University. He has published 15 books of poetry, including his latest, “White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006.” He has also written 20 books of prose, children’s books and plays. He received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for his poetry book “The One Day” (1988). He lives in New Hampshire.
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2007-2008

Charles Simic

Charles Simic

Charles Simic (1938- ) was born in Yugoslavia on May 9, 1938. His childhood was complicated by the events of World War II. He moved to Paris with his mother when he was 15; a year later, they joined his father in New York and then moved to Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, where he graduated from the same high school as Ernest Hemingway. Simic attended the University of Chicago, working nights in an office at the Chicago Sun Times, but was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1961 and served until 1963. He earned his bachelor's degree from New York University in 1966. From 1966 to 1974 he wrote and translated poetry, and he also worked as an editorial assistant for Aperture, a photography magazine. He married fashion designer Helen Dubin in 1964. They have two children. He has been a U.S. citizen since 1971 and lives in Strafford, N.H.
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2008-2010

Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan (1945- ) was born in 1945 in San Jose, California, and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. For more than 30 years, she taught remedial English at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California. Ryan’s poems are known for their brevity, wit, and frequent use of slant and internal rhymes. Her most recent book is The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press, 2010). "Poetry for the Mind's Joy," included a poetry-writing contest, a videoconference with students at community colleges, and designation of April 1 as Community College Poetry Day. The events were sponsored by the Library, in collaboration with the Community College Humanities Association.
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