Sunday, August 03, 2008

Reading Poetry

In his introduction to Poetry 180, Billy Collins quotes a teenage girl who says "Whenever I read a modern poem, it's like my brother has his foot on the back of my neck in the swimming pool". He goes on to say that this book was "inspired by the desire to remove poetry far from such scenes of torment".

The first poem in the book is Introduction To Poetry by Billy Collins and he captures the essence of what is wrong with how poetry is most often read and attempted to be appreciated.

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.

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