This Sunday's New York Times Book Review magazine is devoted to poetry. What's particularly interesting (to me) is a short piece which shows original drafts edited by their poets --- handwritten notes and ideas in the margins. Using that as inspiration, I composed a poem (below) but wanted to use Billy Collins's "Introduction to Poetry" as a reminder to fellow teachers, poets, and readers just what goes into thinking about poetry.
Introduction to Poetry
( Billy Collins)
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.