Poetry Friday: Billy Collins
June 09, 2006
I really like Billy Collins' work. Funny wins me over every time. Here's a poem about teaching that strikes me as funny, true, and ultimately a little sad. "Introduction to Poetry" begins,
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.
To read the rest of the poem, which is copyright protected (so I can't print the whole thing here), go to Poetry Daily.
Susan thanks so much for sharing that - it's a keeper ! It sums up so well the attitude that children and young people (and some adults too) have to poetry; an attitude that drives me crazy as a poetry lover, but must drive living poets even crazier ! In another life, I moderate a World War One poetry discussion forum, and if I had a pound for every student who had posted asking what poem X means, I'd be able to quit my day job and take to writing full time ! My response is always "What do YOU think it means? Tell us and we'll discuss your ideas with you." Which invariably meets with a stony silence (if I'm lucky; if I'm unlucky it provokes a storm of abuse !)
Posted by: Michele | June 09, 2006 at 01:45 PM
You're welcome, Michele! When I was in school (before university), the approach to poetry was to overanalyze meter, rhyme scheme, and Meaning...talk about not fostering a love for the form! At last when I was fifteen or sixteen, I had a teacher who made literature come alive and seem like fun. Thank goodness!
Posted by: Susan | June 09, 2006 at 01:54 PM
I somehow didn't study much poetry in school, despite doing English up to the age of 16, so I got to discover its magic for myself in my 20s and have been a poetry "nut" ever since...
Posted by: Michele | June 10, 2006 at 03:12 PM