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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
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.

This is one from Billy Collins' first official published collection of poems, "The Apple that Astonished Paris." Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001-2003. He's really got some good stuff. This particular poem harkens me back to Professor Keating's page-ripping-out-rant against academic evaluation of poetry in the movie, Dead Poet's Society. If interested you can read the transcript of that stirring dialogue in the essay linked on the right hand side of the page called "Why Poetry?"
posted by John David Walt | at 6/06/2006 11:12:00 AM



Anonymous JP said...

easy to see why he was a poet laureate.
Professor Keating is the coolest!

1:40 PM EDT  

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