Building with Its Face Blown Off/ Analysis

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Topics: Picnic, Literature
Review of "Building with its Face Blown Off"
Dawn Greene
Galen College of Nursing

Review of "Building with its Face Blown Off"
Destruction all around you, clothing strewn about here and there, broken furniture litters the cold empty street. This is a ballad describing the effects of war on any town; it is timeless in that it could be occurring anyplace and at any time. The author uses a lot of visual imagery to give us a picture of what it is he is viewing. Author Billy Collins uses non-violent terms to describe the effects of the violent scenes he is portraying, example, the second story bedroom, “wearing only its striped pajamas” (Collins, 2005) and “a door dangling by a single hinge” (Collins, 2005) in each of these descriptions you can actually see what it is that the author is viewing, things that should be inside a home, and only viewed upon entry to the home, but with the added twist of destruction as they are observed from the street. This poem was easy to understand as the writing used everyday terms in describing the sights that were in the scenes. Mr. Collins paints a vivid portrait of this bombed out building and the scene outside on the street.
The interview that Michael Meyers has with Billy Collins about the writing of this poem gives a person insight to what the author was thinking about as he wrote this poem. Mr. Meyer asks Mr. Collins about the images in the poem, he feels that they are of a photojournalistic quality, and he asks Mr. Collins “isn’t a picture better than a thousand words?” The response that is given is that he wanted to” avoid moralistic antiwar rhetoric”, so he stuck with the visual aspects of a war zone. (Collins, 2005, p. 942)
The meaning of this poem is that although war can tear apart the world as you may know it, leaving chaos in its wake, as portrayed by the bombed out building, and the broken furniture in the street. It also gives a glimpse of the fact that people are resilient and will rebuild, as we see by the



References: Collins, B. (2005). A study of Billy Collins: The author reflects on five poems. In M. Meyer (Ed.), The compact Bedford introduction to literature (9th ed., pp. 938-942). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s. Collins, B. (2005). On “Building with its Face Blown Off”; Michael Meyer interviews Billy Collins [Review of the poem Building with its face blown off, by B. Collins]. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, pp. 939-942.

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