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Top 100 or so Poems -- "Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins

Billy Collins is the most popular poet in America today (living, of course). Born and raised in New York City in the same hospital in which William Carlos Williams practiced as a doctor, Billy spent much of his young life reading and writing poetry - listing his influences as the Beats, Wallace Stevens, e.e. cummings, Hart Crane (whom he often imitated).

It wasn't until Billy was 48 years old that he "finally started writing poems it seems only I could have written" - hence finding his poetic voice.

His late start was soon forgotten; his poetic career then accelerated at a pace that was unparalleled. By 2001 he was named U.S. Poet Lauriate for the first time and would be named for another term therafter.

Much of his poetry is accessible and about everyday life to begin with; after this accessible launce he then takes the reader on an easy journey into the imagination. Much of his poetry is also about poetry and writing itself - hence this piece, one of his most popular pieces is presented to you for your enjoyment:

Introduction To Poetry

by Billy Collins

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.

1 comment:

  1. I have always loved this one; I recommend it a lot to people who think they aren't something or other enough to offer opinions about poetry.