I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
5 thoughts on ““Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins”
I just mentioned this poem in a comment earlier today. Fun coincidence! Did you know it’s Poem #1 at the Library of Congress Poetry 180 project? http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/
Happy Poetry Month, etc. 🙂
You know, I think that’s where I actually discovered this poem (and Collins), but from the printed book version. I laughed at Collins’s intro; he said (paraphrase), it’s a good poem, if I like the poem, it’s a bad poem if I don’t like it. Such logic, arrogant, but logical, and true, especially in the minds of students. 🙂
I don’t know much about Collins, except The Dad Poet cites him frequently. I’ll have to catch up. 🙂
This is the poem you were telling me about . . . I LOVE it!
Probably. I know I’ve mentioned a couple Collins pieces. He’s a cocky little guy, or at least comes across that way in his work, but I can’t help but like him. I’ve got one or two more scheduled in the weeks ahead. 🙂
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