Picnic, Lightning

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Picnic, Lightning
AuthorBilly Collins
CountryUnited States
PublisherUniversity of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date
Preceded byThe Art of Drowning (1995) 
Followed byTaking 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 description of his mother's death 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