October 10 2018
Introduction to Poetry
In his poem “Introduction to Poetry”, Billy Collins shows us that it is better “to take a poem and hold it up to the light” rather than to “torture confessions out of it”. It is about teachers, students or general readers over-analyzing poetry and trying to unravel every possible meaning instead of allowing themselves to form their own interpretations on poetry. Poems are known for being delicate and organized pieces of literature that need to be followed and not forced through. The following essay examines, mainly through imagery, that poetry should be read and enjoyed like an exploration rather than forcing a meaning out of it.
According to the author, the best way to read a poem is to waterski across its surface, or in other words, to simply enjoy it. Students are always thought that the best way to understand a poem is by finding out its meaning or the sole purpose behind it. Readers should be able to find personal connections to poems instead of focusing only on the speakers connection. An example that supports this claim is the last stanza in the poem when the speaker writes ” They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.”. It is almost as if the poem is portrayed as a human being beaten to get answers out of it.
Torturing and beating a poem are not the only ways to read poetry. Alternatively, the speaker uses more playful imagery to suggest that poetry should be fun instead of a burden. The third stanza of the poem refers to poetry as walking inside a dark room trying to find the light switch. Although it may seem scary at first, there is a sense of excitement of not knowing what to expect.