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Bucksbaum Lecture

The 38th Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series

An Evening with Billy Collins & Clint Smith

Monday, March 27, 2017, 7 p.m.
Drake University Knapp Center


Billy Collins 
Billy Collins is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (2001–2003) whose poetry has seen both critical acclaim and broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, andhe is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.” His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry, and in 2016 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

Collins has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, including his most recent, Rain in Portugal (October 2016), which was a New York Times bestseller. 

Included among the honors Collins has received are the Aiken-Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry, and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In October 2004, he was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.

Clint Smith
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate in education at Harvard University. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship, with research interests that include mass incarceration, the sociology of race, and the history of U.S. inequality. His two TED Talks, “The Danger of Silence” and “How to Raise a Black Son in America,” collectively have been viewed more than 5 million times.

Smith is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop Fellowand has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Guardian, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, is a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

For more information, contact Erica Hartschen, at 515-271-4990 or

Learn more about the Lectureship

The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by a gift from the late Melva and Martin Bucksbaum, longtime member of Drake's governing board. Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship Committee: Neil Hamilton (chair), Julian Archer, James Autry, Pamela Bass-Bookey, Michael Gartner, Janis Ruan, Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan, and Eleanor Zeff.

Previous Lecturers

  • Krista Tippett
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Peter Neufeld
  • Nina Totenberg
  • Tim Gunn
  • Walter Isaacson
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • James Balog
  • Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter
  • Vicente Fox
  • Garrison Keillor
  • Twyla Tharp
  • Dr. Azar Nafisi
  • Dr. Maya Angelou
  • Bill Bryson
  • Thomas R. Pickering
  • Erik Peterson
  • Nicholas Kristof
  • Bob Costas
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
  • David Chipperfield
  • Dr. Jane Goodall
  • Tim Russert
  • Sarah Jones
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Michael Beschloss
  • Earvin 'Magic' Johnson
  • Ken Burns
  • Bill Moyers
  • Martin Marty & Archbishop Rembert Weakland
  • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Senator Paul Simon
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • David McCullough
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Thomas Friedman