Imagine a world where the libraries are open
always !
and the words break free of their pages
and go screaming down the street.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Introduction to Poetry

The trigger for this poem was the discussion yesterday of "The Red Wheel Barrel". The  poem is pretty straight forward. The message appears to be to experience the poem, let it come in through the senses rather then through the brain. If you do that it will be a much richer and complete experience.

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

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.


  1. So additional notes of this poem:

    Taking a purely logical approach to a poem leave one with something very ugly. Everything becomes tied up in knots and there is some ugly sweaty thug in a dark room beating the poem with a hose.

    but if we instead hold the poem up to the light(see)

    press an ear against it (hear)

    enter the poem, get inside it (touch)

    then we will be gliding across the surface enjoying ourselves and signing the praises of the poet.

    I have always thought of poems as a container for longing, the whole is larger than the some of the parts (much larger and on many different levels).

    I think Billy Collins got it right in this poem.