winter syntax

Topics: Writing, Linguistics, Poetry Pages: 1 (270 words) Published: November 17, 2013

Winter Syntax
In the poem, "Winter Syntax", Billy Collins writes about the difficulties of writing literature through the representation of a "lone traveler" and his adventures through a blizzard. He starts off the poem emphasizing the importance of the first sentence and how it is portrayed as a lone traveler going through a tough blizzard.  By using the analogy of the traveler, Collins allows readers to imagine the difficulties a writer goes through while writing. Collins ends the poem saying "the man will express a single thought" as if to say he has finally finished explaining the difficulties of writing, therefore the lone traveler travelled through the storm. 

The structure of the poem is organized into 6 stanzas; some of the stanzas contain enjambment. This effect shows that the "traveler" is continuously travelling. The poet intentionally made the first stanza one continuous sentence to depict that the most important aspect of written work is its first sentence. Most writers take a lot of time to find inspiration therefore they need to brainstorm their ideas, the "traveler" is a metaphor for all their difficulties when writing. However, as good writers, they will be determined to continue through all obstacles to create the perfect sentence, just like the traveler who "tilts into the wind" as if fighting against it. If the writer puts in enough effort, "the tails of his thin coat" will start "flapping behind" them. “The tails of his thin coat” may be all the thoughts the writer had while writing the sentence saying to give up, although the traveler pushed on just like the writer did when writing a sentence.
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