Response to Schoolsville

Page 1 of 2

Response to Schoolsville

By | Feb. 2007
Page 1 of 2
Response to Schoolsville

My first thoughts after reading Schoolsville, by Billy Collins, as a whole, were of the movie {proof}. {proof} is about a mathematician who, as he grew older, slowly lost his mind.
After reading the first few stanzas I thought either the person in the poem is Schizophrenic or simply reminiscing. However, when I came upon the second to last stanza, I understood the story. The second to last stanza reads;

Needless to say, I am the mayor.
I live in the white colonial at Maple and Main.
I rarely leave the house. The car deflates
In the driveway. Vines twirl around the parch swing.

This stanza illustrates that the person in this poem has created a small world in his head. Time passing is evident by the "car deflat[ing] in the driveway. Vines twirl up the porch swing." This stanza is the last stanza that shows personal evidence of the person's delusion. Indirectly, in the last stanza, the person establishes how the outside world views them. The person is visited by an old student who is checking in on them, or by someone else outside their window, watching the person "lecture the wall paper, [quiz] the chandelier, [or] [reprimand] the air." Although this poem had no personal effect on me, it caught my imagination through the imagery. The delusion of the teacher's town, Schoolsville, filled with all of their old students, is made almost real by the descriptions of the population. "The boy who always had his hand up" I swear was in my English class last year, and I have always been jealous of "the A's." You would find me in the circle of creative writing students, sitting near whoever plays the lute, pulling at the grass and conversing about that new Sylvia Plath poem I ran across the other night in my grandpa's old college notes. Besides the believability of the imaginary town, the wording of the poet, Collins, is alluring. In the second stanza he writes;

I can see it nestled in a paper landscape,
Chalk dust...