Picnic, Lightning

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Picnic, Lightning
Author Billy Collins
Country United States
Genre Poetry
Publisher University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date
ISBN 978-0-8229-5670-9
Preceded by The Art of Drowning (1995)
Followed by Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes (2000)

Picnic, Lightning is a collection of poetry by Billy Collins, published in 1998. His fourth book of poetry, it was his first to be widely published (selling over 50,000 copies)[1] and his last before election as United States Poet Laureate.

The title poem is a reference to Humbert Humbert's mundane description of his mother's death as described by him in the second chapter of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. "My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three...."


  1. ^ The Selling of Billy Collins, a November 18, 2001 article from The New York Times