In 1984, Collier became intimately involved in the development of Maryland's MFA in creative writing and has helped direct it to its current heights.
In addition to his volumes of poetry, The Clasp and Other Poems, The Folded Heart, The Neighbor, The Ledge, and Dark Wild Realm, Collier also wrote an acclaimed translation of Euripedes' Medea for Oxford University Press's Greek Tragedy in New Translations series that has been performed by theater companies across the country. Collier's most recent poetry collection An Individual History (W.W. Norton, 2013). Of the poems in an An Individual History, Eavan Boland writes, that "with music, time, and a sheer narrative [...] these poems find their path to an almost secret place, where history and memory meet." His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and selections as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the LA Times Book Prize for Poetry for 2001's The Ledge.
Collier holds posts as the director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Middlebury, Vermont, the longest running writers' conference in the country, and as poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin. Despite the variety of prestigious posts held and prolific poetic output, the former Maryland poet laureate has been instrumental in developing the careers of many undergraduate and graduate students.