Introduction to Poetry

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 Zachary Linder
Ms. Lichius
AP Literature
January 15, 2013
Introduction to Poetry
In “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins, the major theme portrayed is that, poetry is something to be experienced. Very often, readers will just go through the poem once and will then assume to figure out the underlying meaning. However, this is not true in Collins’ eyes. Collins believes that you need to be patient with poetry and he tells you this through a series of metaphors. Throughout the poem, there is heavy use of metaphor for the word “poem”. In the first stanza “poem” is compared to “a color slide”, this creates a strong imagery that readers have to look deeper and closer in order to look at the slide clearly. This shows us that when look at a slide or a poem, the meaning can only be revealed through multiple readings, time, with careful interpretation. In the second stanza “poem” is compared to “a hive”, it might be difficult to fully understand a poem, but one can succeed apart from the difficulties. There are many things that stop you from understanding a poem just like it might be hard for you to get close to a hive. In the third and fourth stanza, Collins compares “poem” to “a maze” and “a [dark] room in a house”, it reveals the feelings of being lost and uncertain. This stuck out the most because, as human beings, we are afraid of insecurity and when we are facing unfamiliarity. I have experienced this when I come to a turning point in a poem where I think I have the answer and I know the way out but the next stanza leads me to nothing more than a dead end. Eventually, even after a reader experiences all this, there will be a way out. At this point readers will find excitement and inspiration in interpreting poetry. This is portrayed in the fifth stanza, where “poem” is compared to “a lake” and readers are waterskiing and having fun with the poem. In the last two stanzas the tone and imagery provide a sharp distinction to the previous stanzas. The poet...
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