To Explicate or Not to Explicate, That is the Question
Billy Collins' poem, "Introduction to Poetry," describes how a poem is torn apart to extract the true meaning. I remember when I was first asked to explicate a poem. Why does it matter what a poem truly means? The poet obviously intended readers to interpret the poem, but if they really wanted us to know what it means, then they would have told us in the first place. Explicating can be fun because I can make up my own interpretation, but I wonder does it offend some poets when we get the interpretation wrong. Is Collins really saying that all poems are torn apart or is he saying something else in "Introduction to Poetry?" For all I know he could actually be talking about lab mice that are being tortured through scientific experiments.