Poem of the Moment

Billy Collins really is the greatest. His frank, yet artful way of writing is so captivating. I started writing poetry because I figured I was already dramatic so it would come easily. It turns out if your only qualification for writing poetry is being dramatic then all your poems will turn out like some bad romance novel with too many adjectives. I still don't know if my poems are good, but someday, when I grow up, I want to be able to write like Billy Collins. His rhythm is effortless, his imagery is so real, and his turn of phrase is often surprising and always delicious. So for those who aren't really into poetry, here is a little intro to how to enjoy poetry (and how not to enjoy a poem) a la Billy Collins;

Introduction to Poetry

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.

-- Billy Collins


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