Essay about Understanding Poetry: Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry

1289 Words Mar 9th, 2011 6 Pages
Understanding Poetry: Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry Billy Collins uses dark rooms, oceans, hives, color slides and mouse mazes to describe his poem “Introduction to Poetry”, but also a way to analyze poetry in general. Growing up, students are advised by teachers how to analyze poetry. The speaker of Introduction to Poetry, Billy Collins, attempts to guide the readers by teaching them a unique and appropriate way to analyze poetry. The use of personification and imagery, by the author, gives the readers a new perspective to interpret and find the significance in poetry. In this particular poem, the speaker does not want the reader to listen to the teachers of the reader’s past, “tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a …show more content…
“I say drop a mouse into a poem, and watch him probe his way out,” (Collins 5-6). Today scientists use mice for experiments letting them run through mazes testing to see if they can find a way out. This reflects a reader’s relationship with poetry, as the reader is thrown into a maze of words. Like a maze the reader searches their way through poetry to find a meaning. They both will try to find their solution; the only difference is that the reader will find its “out” by interpreting and analyzing the poem. Both mice and readers must undergo a trial and error process to truly find an understanding behind a piece of poetry. With this metaphor, Collins is asking the reader to have patience with poetry and not rush through it to find a meaning. Similarly to the mouse metaphor, in the fourth verse paragraph, the speaker presents another idea for interpretation that requires trial and error. The speaker asks readers to walk inside poetry’s room and feel around in the darkness for a light switch. The reader blindly searches the boundaries of the piece of poetry looking for its meaning. “Walk inside the poem's room, and feel the walls for a light switch.”(Collins 7-8) Most readers have a hard time finding this “light,” and are often discouraged by this. What Collins once again asks of the reader is patience, to search for the meaning. Instead of giving up,

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