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In this poem, Billy Collinsrenowned writer and professor, describes the act of teaching poetry. He lists all the many ways he would like his students to look at poetry, and in the end expresses his frustration with their limited and narrow desire to find meaning in poetry.
In this article, I will begin by examining the poem stanza by stanza. You can read the poem in full here. We have a speaker. In this instance, we can assume that the speaker is Collins himself.
This is the first of many such metaphors, each encouraging a different type of reaction to poetry. Stanza 2 The second stanza is just a single line, which gives it emphasis, as it seems to stand out from the rest of poem.
Collins is comparing poetry to a buzzing hive of insects, asking the readers to simply listen. This is an interesting idea; each word in a work could be considered an individual worker bee. The words are, individually less important than the whole, but at the same time each has its own importance.
The poet could be saying that it is more important to take in the poem as a whole than to pull apart the hive and look at each worker bee individually. Stanza 3 The next stanza brings the next metaphor and a poem becomes a maze.
Does the former poet laureate think of his students as mice lost in a maze? Does he take pleasure in watching them try to find their way out, or does he think that there is value in that struggle?
Scientifically, a mouse in a maze is classic experiment, considered to be a wealth of knowledge, much like poetry. Stanza 4 In these lines, Collins compares a poem to a dark room. The readers are left to grope blindly for the lights. This is another metaphor that implies that people should be lost when reading poetry, that knowledge about a poem is actually detrimental to understanding it.
How is a poem like a room? A poem has fixed dimensions and can be vast or small, like a room.
It is filled with fixed items of various values and importance. Stanza 5 In this stanza, comes the turn, the point in the poem when the tone shifts and the audience is forced to re-examine the rest of the poem. In this instance, Collins does this by, instead of talking about his attempts to teach poetry as he has for the rest of the poem, but by describing his students and their blunt attempts to dissect poetry.
The metaphor here explains that poetry students and readers only want interrogate poems. Stanza 6 The final stanza echoes the previous one. Collins continues to lament his poetry students and their single-minded quest to find the meaning of the poems they read.
The poem concludes with the image of a piece of art being bluntly beaten until it reveals its secrets, secrets that it may not even have. Structure The poem is written in free verse.
It is presented as a speaker describing his experiences, reactions to teaching poetry to students. Historical Context Billy Collins is one of the most popular, recognized, and influential American poets writing today.
He was poet laurite of the United States of America from to This is only one of the numerous honors, accolades, and titles he holds.Almost unknown as a poet in her lifetime, Emily Dickinson is now recognized as one of America's greatest poets and, in the view of some, as one of the greatest lyric poets of all time.
The past fifty years or so have seen an outpouring of books and essays attempting to explain her poetry and her life.
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Bulletproof company that guarantees customer support & lowest prices & money back. Place with timely delivery and free revisions that suit your needs! Speech Analysis. It's understandable why people sometimes get a little overwhelmed when reading Shakespeare. You've got to contend with versification, poetic license, archaisms, words that we don't even use any more, and grammar and spelling that were in a state of flux when the works were written.
HELEN VENDLER, critic and scholar of English-language poetry from the seventeenth century to the present, is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University the first woman to hold a University Professorship, the highest academic distinction Harvard srmvision.com was poetry critic of The New Yorker from , and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board from , often.
Flexible enough for any poetry course, this text is designed to make your students lifelong lovers of poetry. It combines classic poetry with today’s hippest verse, mixing in lots of contemporary life, humor, and universal themes. Previous post Poem Analysis of "Fra Lippo Lippi" by Robert Browning: The Theme & Meaning of Celibacy Next post Elements of Romanticism in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.