introduction to poetry

Relax Max over at clarity2010 is Stalking Poetry.  Or at least that is the title of his latest post.  His first  task is an attempt to sort the differences between metaphors and allegories (with a bit of simile thrown in to sweeten the mix.)  This Billy Collins poem, Introduction to Poetry, fits nicely with Max's theme and addresses a few points, from a poet's point of view, raised in the ensuing discussion on Max's blog.

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.

~ by Billy Collins
From The Apple that Astonished Paris



J Cosmo Newbery said...

Yeah. It means whatever it means to the reader. Sometimes, but not always, that is what the writer felt too.

Adullamite said...

I aw the auld wifie in Leith Walk
Carrying her shoppin bag
I said, There's the wild Pentlands ahint ye
She drapped it.

Relax Max said...

Thank you for this RDG. :)

"Mad" is my brother, btw. I'm "Relax".

But I don't want to learn how to experience the beauty of poetry. I agree that trying to do that mechanically would spoil/defeat the very purpose.

I want to learn how to write it, not understand why I appreciate it.

All my writing turns out prose. Prose with FEELING. Heh.

Dylan Thomas has come and gone
Come and gone
Come and gone
Dylan Thomas has come and gone—
His blood turned to words.
—Mason williams

I know, know: turned to alcohol, not words.

red dirt girl said...

Ha. All three of you made me chuckle tonight. But it's been a long work day for me; sending the oldest child off to college; and getting the other two ready with supplies and FOOD for school tomorrow. I'm tired. Good night.


goatman said...

Gotta mean something, although I have seen poems about nothing at all . . .

red dirt girl said...

goatman ~ it's all about the journey ...