Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Introduction to Poetry

by 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.

"i think a lot of the time people tie a poem to a chair. i think they might even have the intent to like the poem but it's nature to tie it up and hack at it. to try so hard to understand it fully that they lose everything it was meant to be. poems don't need to have a confession, they don't need to be deeper than you are able to understand. can't you sky across the surface and admire the beauty that ripples across the words without diving so deep you drowned in it. just listen to it. let is whisper in your mind and shine through the window. don't hack at it. just love the sound and the ideas. for everybody who hates poetry i say, untie your poor poems and let them be beautiful. enjoy them for what they are. no more no less. "

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