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Billy Collins

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Billy Collins: the Poet of Continuity and Change

From controversial events to ordinary life stories, Billy Collins writes about various topics in different perspectives just like a chameleon, changing its colors to fit with its surrounding. Collins talks in a gentle, yet humorous way; he illustrates a profound understanding through a clear observation. His writing style blends humor and solemnity in one entity. Throughout his poetry, Collins demonstrates, in a witty and satirical voice, his insightfulness towards the objects, using numerous poetic devices, especially allusions and metaphors to effectively convey his messages, most of which revolves around the theme of death.

Humor and Irony are a unique combinations Collins displays in many of his poems, challenging the readers to interpret his work in different perspectives. In “Introduction to Poetry,” Collins offers a witty comparison between the definition of poetry and various other experiments. He asks the reader to “hold [the poem] up to the light/ like a color slide” (1-3), “press an ear against its hive” (4), “drop a mouse into a poem” (5), “walk inside the poem's room” (7), and “waterski across the surface of a poem” (9-10). Rather than stiffly explaining the definition of a poem, he finds creative and humorous approaches to explain his methods of enjoying the poems, and promote the readers’ interest towards discovering the true meaning of poetry. Just as the surrounding would seem different through color slides, he asks the readers to see the world in diverse viewpoints while reading and writing poems. Moreover, by listening to poem’s hive, dropping a mouse, and walking inside its room, Collins encourages readers to discover the concealed depth of poetry. He comments ...

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...r corset as the last page of a book he is reading. The poetry eventually reaches an end, and he states Dickinson’s poetry lines to remember her words and leave the implication of her death. Collins usage of words, even though he does not directly states “death” in the poems, contains the nostalgia of old days and feeling of sadness which naturally leads to his central poetry theme, death.

Billy Collins is a poet who takes the change, but keeps his own focus. Throughout his poetry career, his voice varies according to the topic he selects, while his unique poetic devices and consistent theme represent who he is as a poet. Collins knows how to express humor and irony to illustrate his bright insights towards the objects, uses particular poetic terms, for instance allusions and metaphors, to deliver his idea efficiently that focuses many times on the theme of death.
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