About Us

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 Poet 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.

Poets Advisory Board

Careful consideration is given to each poet who reads for the series. The schedule is arranged many months in advance. We appreciate the many suggestions we receive about poets for future readings. All ideas are passed on to Billy Collins and Dr. Leisha Douglas but they are unable to respond personally to these requests.

Billy Collins is the author of thirteen collections of poetry, including Whale Day, The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. A Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Winter Park Institute of Rollins College, he was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and New York State Poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Billy Collins was a featured panelist for KPS Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration in 2017.

Leisha Douglas 

A psychotherapist for over thirty years, Leisha’s poetry and short stories have appeared in journals including The Alembic, Corium Magazine, The Cortland Review, HitchLit, The Minetta Review and Upstreet. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry, and, in 2017, her collaborative book, To Be Lost In Nature Is To Be Found, was showcased at the Desta Gallery in Marin County, CA.

Katonah Poetry Series Executive Committee

The Committee  supports the Series by organizing and promoting readings and other events, as well as raising funds. We work in close collaboration with the Katonah Library Director and the Board of Trustees.

Officers 2021-2022
Jim Garber – President
Scott Mason– Vice President
Katherine Dering- Treasurer

Committee Members 2021-2022
Elizabeth Harris, Alex Lindquist, Elizabeth Rosen Mayer, Kate Parker, Kate Johnson Phillips

Ann van Buren – Poet Interviewer

Special thanks to Leslye Smith of Studio Smith Photography for her time and talents as our designated event photographer, and Gail Greenstein for her gracious presence at guest services.

Former Officers 
Sincere thanks to:
Moira Thielking – President
Barbara Chintz – Treasurer
Andy Kuhn – Vice President
Stephen Peeples – Co-President & Treasurer
Rebecca Rogan – President
Steven Weiner – Co-President

The Katonah Poetry Series is a subsidiary affiliate of the Katonah Village Library