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Introduction to Poetry Representation

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Poetry is not just words formed into a line and a stanza; each poem is an opportunity to “dance” with the poet to his or her significant song. “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins is a reflection on how readers should read poetry. This poem is about how readers should take the time to understand and explore poetry. In addition, Billy Collins, also, states that readers should not torture poems and ignore the significance each stanza represents, but dissect, enjoy, and appreciate the journey they will take while reading poetry. “Introduction to Poetry” is a guide to readers in how to take more time enjoying poetry and learning to understand the experiences poems portray.

Billy Collins makes an observation that readers should not just read poems, but see them from a different angle and hear their meanings. Collins wants the reader to contemplate the meaning of every detail and carefully understand the interpretation as if it were a color slide. For example, Collins states in the first stanza, “I ask them to take a poem / and hold it up to the light / like a color slide” (1-3). This simile claims that the speaker wants his readers to see the poem in a distinct way, such as picturing and enjoying the beauty of the imagery poetry can reveal. However, Collins indicates that he does not want the reader to observe the poem closely, but listen to what the poem says. In the last line of the first stanza, he states, “or press an ear against its hive” (4). This metaphor reveals an auditory imagery because he compares the poem to a beehive. In addition, alliteration is revealed by the repetitive ‘s’ sound in the words ‘press’, ‘against’ and ‘its’ because they carry a buzzing sound when they are pronounced. The beehive is a representati...

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...ing it with a hose / to find out what it really means” (15-16). The stanza reveals how some readers desperately try to make something make sense in poetry, instead of listening and enjoying the distinctive meanings each poem portrays whether it is significant or not. The title, “Introduction to Poetry,” is a representation of a lesson that Billy Collins presented in the poem, attempting to teach his readers how to, not only read poetry, but enjoy it as well. He wants his readers to begin to explore, dissect, and have an adventure with poetry because a poem is meant to be read with enjoyment and to engross his readers into many poetic journeys poetry continues to divulge.

Works Cited

Collins, Billy. "Introduction to Poetry." Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto and William E. Cain. 10th ed. New York: Pearson, 2014. 203-204. Print.