Poem #18: Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

Well,  National Poetry Month (US) has come to an end 😦  I must say I have had a lot of fun selecting poems for this celebration.  So I’ve decided to feature a poem at least once a week from now on.

Introduction to Poetry by the American poet Billy Collins will end this month’s celebration.  An introduction at the end is like doing something backwards but really there is some logic to this madness.  I love the poetry of Billy Collins mainly because they are so accessible and fun. If you are new to poems or if you’ve not had much success reading them, read some poems by Billy Collins.  You will fall headlong into the genre before you know it.  Enjoy.

Introduction to Poetry

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.



  1. I remember first reading that poem in an introduction to literary criticism class. Needless to say, my professor has a sense of humour 😛


  2. I often start the semester with this….my students look at me like I’m crazy, but I think it makes an impresssion.


  3. I think he might be a good place to start for me.
    I loved the poem. And thanks again for sharing so many wonderful poems this month.


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