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Introduction To Poetry Analysis

Author: poem of Billy Collins Type: poem Views: 17

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I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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I like how it is the title of a college course. It is true that people treat poems like math answers, while they can't be overanalyzed either.

| Posted on 2015-10-09 | by a guest

.: :.

Collins here express his affection about the poem, but is visible his love for the book in particular. An useful fixation, like the natural reflections of the humans in general but lighter and practical, that reaches and cant live only in this ambient, the intellectual society. Collins feel compassion about the poem, he want to revive it, after he knew that it is dead, that is a only a bunch of letters well ordered. Collins often is mistaken for an arrogant, wherever he tries to clean the rows of new intellectuals from the unaccepted ones, from the misery diseases that those bring to the high class society. His sadness is not a low life illness of whatever symptoms, but a strong care a self compassion about the American society or the peak of the world, about the line of distinguishing those classes that is so thin and invisible almost. The American world failed, so his culture. America is now melting or returning to his mother europe to cry together, those days. America failed, the only concrete hope of their dreams, so his poetic ambitions is revealed into banal examples but they now have entered into the high society, like the rat, like touching a poem body, or the tortur of the poem with a rope and a chair, that is a german characteristic of behaviors in culture revenge or in war, is the same is the selfimmunity, that throw out every italian bright head from the American desk, listening to the french locusts, while eating food from the marsh.1-0

| Posted on 2013-02-21 | by a guest

.: :.

A professor describes his frustration with teaching his students (them) the basics of poetry (course title is the poem\'s), and in it he tells us the readers how to appreciate poetry and understand its meaning. The author writes the poem but wants the reader to come up with her/his own interpretation. It is not like an article or a textbook where words at surface value carry the meaning, rather it is a personal experience, and each one of us should come up with his/her own interpretation. And the poem tells us how to experience a poem.

| Posted on 2012-09-17 | by a guest

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I believe that this poem is stating that poems are living things, that they are alive. Collins uses personification to prove his point further when he wrote \"they begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.\" We know that this has happened many times in history and it sets a dark mood over the seemingly light poem. Brilliant.

| Posted on 2012-09-08 | by a guest

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I think he is giving the reader instruction about how to approach poems, NOT simply stating that analysis is beating the poem. He highlights the joy that poetry brings us but there is a tonal shift, which warns the reader not to over analyse.

| Posted on 2012-04-26 | by a guest

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Love the irony, how I\'m left \'turturing a confession out of the poem\'. Which is exactly what he doesn\'t want us to do. This leaves us confused, but maybe it is a lesson for us not to analyze poems wih such depth!Great Stuff.

| Posted on 2012-04-24 | by a guest

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Collins wants students to fully immerse themselves within a poem and enjoy it as well as discovering what its deeper meaning is. Students should try to find the meaning themselves rather than trying to get the poem to tell them what it means.

| Posted on 2011-11-29 | by a guest

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i think the main idea is that poem readers want to “beat” the meaning out of poems rather than decipher it themselves. they dont want to put forth the effort to interpret it and have the meaning blateltly infront of them. its also about using all of youre senses to enjoy and understand what poetry really is. i think this is a nice poem and it has taught me alot.

| Posted on 2011-10-27 | by a guest

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I think the poem is about reading in another point of view, not trying to find the right answer.
Some times the answer we are looking for is just under our nose and we are searching so long to find the answer that will satisfied us as readers.

| Posted on 2011-10-24 | by a guest

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i think it is how we over analyze poems when we should leave the parts of the poem unknown

| Posted on 2011-06-02 | by a guest

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my interpretation is that u shouldnt read poems and not analyse them just search google for poem ... then poets name then write analyse u will find it

| Posted on 2011-05-21 | by a guest

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This poem is very ironic. I think we over analyze poetry. Are we also over analyzing this poem?

| Posted on 2011-04-25 | by a guest

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Actually, I think it\'s more about how people over-analyze literature and beat it to a pulp, when sometimes the simplest meaning is often more obvious than we think. Over-analysis kills the beauty of poetry and people who teach literature are so guilty of this, it makes me sick.
Appreciate the poem for what it is and stop trying to force some far fetched meaning out of it.

| Posted on 2011-04-04 | by a guest

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I agree. This poem is denfinitely about students/people in general who are just interestedin finding the meaning and getting the poem over and done with. They don\'t think about the intricateness of all the possible meanings, just brutally attack it and find a simple meaning, which probably isn\'t the right one. People often think too much about the meaning, to - after all, only the poet really knows the meaning.

| Posted on 2011-03-29 | by a guest

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Long story short. I think this poem means that there is no ONE meaning in a poem. People interpret and see it in different ways: e.g. Like you would see things differently in a color side although you\'re looking at the same thing. He uses a lot of metaphors and imagery to show this. So basically, from one poem you can get a million interpretations.

| Posted on 2011-02-13 | by a guest

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i think the peom means we need to stop analyzing poems and just enjoy them

| Posted on 2011-01-05 | by a guest

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Wow. I really enjoyed this poem. I think it means that you should all become mormon. we rock.

| Posted on 2011-01-03 | by a guest

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Dave E. Beautiful metaphor! However, is Collins relaxing and peaceful, or the noise that keeps you up at night. OR looking way into it.is it both?
Just my two cents.

| Posted on 2010-09-29 | by a guest

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After reading some posts, it brings more joy to think that poetry is amazing. It is amazing because we can read into, analyze, scrutinize and deliberate what it means, and to me we are all \"spot on\"! What it means to me is:
He asks his students to enjoy the fullness and pleasure of the poem and what it emotions and thoughts come with it. Yet all they want to do is stop it from taking flight in our imagination and just try to predict what the author really means. By the way the only one who can tell us that is Mr. Collins himself.
Just my two cents!

| Posted on 2010-09-29 | by a guest

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I am not a poet, and it(Billy Collins\' poem) makes it hard for us, students, to understand it. I mean, I seriously love poems, but this poem is the hardest poem to understand. But, on the other hand, I think it means that we should really understand not just this poem, but also other poems and that they must not be taken for granted.

| Posted on 2010-09-05 | by a guest

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I am not a poet, and it(Billy Collins\' poem) makes it hard for us, students, to understand it. But, on the other hand, I think it means that we should really analyze and understand not just this poem, but also other poems and that they must not be taken for granted.

| Posted on 2010-09-05 | by a guest

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I think Collins is a consistently brilliant poet. To me, the irony in this poem is why it resonates and is so enjoyable. Generally speaking, it is outlined by the incongruent relationship between the title and the content, and the poem and his style of poetry. Billy Collins really is the sound of rain on the rooftop:)
David E.

| Posted on 2010-08-12 | by a guest

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i agree, the poem is telling how readers dont like to read poems beacuse of how hard it is to read sometimes also to the person writing to mr scholar they need to chill out

| Posted on 2010-03-02 | by a guest

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I think that Billy Collins is speaking to his thoughts on the act of reading poetry. Moreover, he feels that a reading poetry is to experience it---hear it, see it, feel it etc. Reading poetry should be less about constucting meaning. That is not to say that it should not be analyzed or discussed, but that the experience of reading it should be more important than anything else.

| Posted on 2010-01-31 | by a guest

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I think the title is actually a college course title. Billy Collins is referring to how students don't really want to deal with a poem and just want to get it over with instead of really taking their time to understand the poem and find out their true meanings.

| Posted on 2010-01-10 | by a guest

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Quite a scholar you are; you cannot properly spell analyzed and "overanalyzed" is not a recognized word in the English dictionary. Trying some work on your punctuation too, Mr. Scholar.

| Posted on 2009-10-30 | by a guest

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Shop at Barnes and Nobles for great poetry from billy Collins.

| Posted on 2009-02-18 | by a guest

.: Agree with Collins :.

As a poet myself, i truely understand Collins' point of view. As a scholar as well, i would find myself constantly frustrated by the way teachers over-analysed every word, line & stanza; every punctuation mark; every mark of tone & emotion; & it all just becomes so judgmental, i think.
Good to see that some people can appreciate the art of poetry for what it is.

| Posted on 2008-03-08 | by a guest

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