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Introduction to Poetry Summary & Analysis
by Billy Collins

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The celebrated American poet Billy Collins published "Introduction to Poetry" in his book The Apple That Astonished Paris, which came out in 1988. In Collins's characteristically casual and witty tone, the speaker talks about different ways of teaching poetry, trying to show students that poetry can actually be enjoyable. Using one metaphor after another, the speaker frames the act of reading poetry as an exploration and an adventure, suggesting that reading can be as exuberant as waterskiing or lively as a beehive. Instead of embracing this lighthearted approach, though, the speaker's students get hung up on figuring out what a poem means, beating it senseless as they try to extract its secrets.

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