Billy Collins Introduction To Poetry Essay

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In “Introduction to Poetry” Billy Collins uses the poet’s point of view to describe how poetry should and should not be analyzed. The poem’s imagery conveys how poetry is an art to be enjoyed, but academic settings create animosity towards poetry. The title refers to the scholastic setting of an English class focused on breaking down the elements of poetry. The poem describes how poetry students miss the excitement of the senses because they are required to examine and interpret poems according to stringent rules. In the first two stanzas, the poet is asking the reader to use the senses to experience the poem. The speaker instructs the reader to “take a poem / and hold it to the light / like a color slide.” This imagery implores the reader to creatively envision the picture the poet is designing with words. By using this method, the reader does not focus on the mechanics of how the art was created, but rather he or she appreciates the visual impact of the piece of art. Collins writes “or press an ear against its hive” in the second verse which suggests that the reader…show more content…
Collins uses the metaphor of a mouse in a maze to represent the twists and turns the mind takes as one discovers what the poet writes. Usually, at the end of the maze, a mouse is rewarded with a treat, which Collins describes as a light switch on the wall. This metaphor refers to the satisfying moment when the reader connects with the poem. Also, Collins expands the imagery of amusement as the readers “waterski across the surface of the poem”. But, as the reader is “waving to the author’s name on the shore”, Collins suggests that the poet provides the entertainment but does not dictate how the reader should enjoy the poem. The interpretation of poetry is an active process in which the reader discovers the pleasure of understanding what the poem means to him or

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