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.
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.
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