The Katonah Poetry Series—a program of the Katonah Village Library—was founded in 1967 by Robert Phillips, a local resident, accomplished poet and advertising man. When Mr. Phillips left to teach at the University of Houston, two-time Poet Laureate Billy Collins, then a resident of nearby Somers, took it on. Billy Collins directed the Series from 1991-2008, his leadership enhancing its reputation in the literary world and drawing audiences from the greater Tri-State area. Since 2008, Collins has continued to act as Poets Advisor to the Series. From 2008 through July 2010, Billy Collins’ long-time co-director, psychotherapist and poet Leisha Douglas, Ph.D. served as series director with Marlene Gallagher, artist and poet, as assistant director. The series is now run by the KPS Executive Committee, a small group of dedicated volunteers.
Throughout its long history, the series has attracted renowned national and international poets. As Billy Collins aptly said, “If you sat on the steps of the Katonah Village Library for the past 23 years without moving, nearly every notable American poet would walk by you.”