AP English 12/Period 4
21 September 2014
“Introduction to Poetry” AP Analysis Essay
Billy Collins embraces the use of tone, imagery, irony and other literary devices to depict the “correct” methods of analyzing poetry in his poem, Introduction to Poetry. The speaker uses imagery of exploration and curiosity to show what he feels is the appropriate way to analyze, as well as images of torture to show the inappropriate way. There is also strong imagery of a teacher among his students, which adds to the “learning” aspect of the poem. Collins uses a shift in tense in “Introduction to Poetry” to assist in creating various moods throughout the poem. In the first few stanzas, the writing style follows a somewhat of list format. He lists off ways he wants his students to analyze poetry through various images, basically listing them off. Towards the end of the poem, it turns into more of a narrative. The speaker uses phrases like “They begin to” to illustrate more of a story than a list, and this shows the change in mood from positive to grim and violent.
Imagery is one of the most essential literary devices in the poem. The whole poem is essentially a giant image, again pertaining to the negatives and positives of literary analysis. In the first few stanzas, Collins uses images like an anxious mouse or a shaded room to explain the necessity of an ever exploring mind. The will to find a lightswitch in blind circumstances shows the determination Collins feels is necessary to find meaning in a poem. But as the poem continues you on, the tone shifts from playful and eager to a darker mood. This comes from the Collins’ belief in over analyzing something,
especially poetry. He uses images of torture to explain how his students attempt to beat a meaning out of a body of work. Because of the negative tone used in these last few stanzas, it gives the impression ...
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