The Abuse of Poetry

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Writing About Literature (This is a new thing I'm doing in order to avoid confusion, thus it is very exciting.)

 

I'm quite suprised I've never read Billy Collins' poetry before. The poem "Introduction to Poetry," should, as the title suggests, should probably be read as an introduction in every class that involves the analysis of poetry. The images it uses to describe analysing poetry are both funny, and accurate. I especially liked the image of tying a poem down to "torture a confession out of it" or "beating it with a hose to find out what it really means."

The stanza "I say drop a mouse into a poem/ and watch him probe his way out." was especially clever, and seemed to remind me of something someone said about the essay being a writer's laboratory. I have NO IDEA who said that (Dr. Jerz), but I will forever associate it with shoving a mouse inside a poem in order to observe his behavior.

"On Turning Ten," was one I could at first relate to, and then actually take solace in. I know I never felt that way about turning ten, however, starting at 22, I've been feeling like each birthday is "the beggining of sadness." (Part of the reason for this is that I tend to spend my birthdays either driving back to School, or in orientation. August 22nd is a terrible day for a birthday). Anyway, as much as the past is over, etc. Hearing/reading the speaker sounding about as bummed out at getting old, at the age of ten, is kind of reassuring. I guess since I know that 11-24 were pretty fun ages, now, I really have no reason to expect that 24- will be all that bad, despite massive changes. Plus in a year my car insurance will go down.

"Sonnet" was a fun poem, I especially liked the phrase "iambic bongos." This deconstruction of a sonnet, reminded me of a sonnet I wrote in high school at one point (except my teacher did want to get all Elizabethan and make us play those iambic bongos, and use rhymes). I did a similar thing, and wrote about how I disliked the restrictive nature of the sonnet, and threw in a few lines similar to the ones that count how many lines were still required, and did the same thing with syllables in lines once or twice. I also liked the fact that Collins was able to stick the line "take off those crazy medieval tights" in the poem, as well as the reference to Laura and Petrarch. Through all the little details, Collins effectivelly saterizes the sonnet.            

 

 

 

2 Comments

Jessica Orlowski said:

Good point about the car insurance :)

I also liked "Sonnet." It got a few good laughs out of me, especially the "medieval tights" line.

Cody Naylor said:

I agree with you, Dave. I feel like "Introduction to Poetry" was written by a tired, disgruntled old English teacher!

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