Guilford Reads: Poetry 180

Introduction to Poetry
by 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.

poetry180“Poetry 180 was inspired by the desire to remove poetry far from such scenes of torment.” Find your favorite way to explore this book –“You can look up poets you are familiar with, you can flip through the pages looking for a title that grabs you, a shape that invites you in. Or you can read the collection cover to cover, forwards or backwards.”


We’ll be reading our favorites from and talking about Poetry 180 at Talk About Books at the Guilford Free Library on Wednesday, July 17 at 6:30 PM. Books are available at the library, the town office, Richmond’s Garage and the Guilford Country Store.