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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 start from scratch[clears the canvas] Introduction to PoetryBY BILLY COLLINSI ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slideor 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 poems room and feel the walls for a light switch.I want them to waterski across the surface of a poemwaving at the authors name on the shore.But all they want to dois 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. Poetic DevicesThis poem primarily uses metaphors, personification, and enjambment. The metaphors used (comparing poetry to slide shows, bee hives, rooms, water) primarily serve to bring out the vast, often intimidating nature of poetry. By comparing poetry to a bee hive, for example, the reader gets a sense of the angry buzz people feel when they are asked to analyze poetry. By the end of the poem, however, the reader sees that shift has taken place by making poetry the victim of torture, with the torturer being, one can infer, overzealous critics or English teachers who destroy the beauty of poetry by over-analyzing it. AnalysisThis poem is primarily an exercise in irony. Billy Collins, the former National Poet Laureate, has written a poem satirizing the over-analysis of poetry. Ironically, you need to analyze his poem to understand the humor. Structure and DictionThe poem is written in free verse, meaning that there is no rhyming and the stanzas are of varying length. It follows standard English syntax and grammar, although the lines are occasionally enjambed, which functions to separate the initial action from the secondary action. The diction is remarkablefor the unpoetic word choices, such as "hose," "torture," and"color slide."
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