Introduction to Poetry

black and white photo of piles of books

Introduction to Poetry

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.

by Billy Collins 

black and white image of an open book


It’s Week 4 already!

Each Friday Sam or I will post a poem and pose some questions to reflect on while eating your lunch.

Today the poem itself is about poetry. Billy Collins has twice been Poet Laureate in the US. His poetry is popular and accessible. seemingly light but often with a kick or a claw which reaches out and grabs you unexpectedly.

What did you think of this poem?

Does it make you want to read more by Billy Collins or not?

Why do you think this is?

Let us know how you approach a poem when reading it for the first time.


Sue Watling


images from https://pixabay.com

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4 thoughts on “Introduction to Poetry

  1. What did you think of this poem? I loved the poem – I loved the sense of engaging with a poem lightly and allusively – not tying it to that chair and bludgeoning it into submission. It is a gift to the reader, saying it is not about getting it right – it’s about being with the poem in all these light ways…

    Does it make you want to read more by Billy Collins or not? Oh yes!

    Why do you think this is? I found the poem itself light, friendly – I felt a connection with the mind that wrote that – and would like to see what they had to say about other things… What does he say about the death of our parents for example? That might speak to me…

    Let us know how you approach a poem when reading it for the first time. I read it through seeing if it connects in form or content – and preferably both… This one did both!
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Would love to know if anyone does choose poetry Sandra 🙂 Also thank you for the feedback. It’s good to know you liked this week’s poem. I only recently discovered Billy Collins and as you say – he has a light touch but often leaves you with an unexpected sting at the end!

      Liked by 1 person

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