Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins (Click to start the activity)

Read the poem by Billy Collins with feelings.

Billy Collins, “Introduction to Poetry” from The Apple that Astonished Paris. Copyright � 1988, 1996 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press.
Source: The Apple that Astonished Paris (University of Arkansas Press, 1996)

Choose from the options below.
Please read the following passage out loud.
Listen to a speaker read the passage aloud. You do not need to read aloud.
Listen to the speaker. Repeat after each sentence and check your pronunciation.
Thank you for reading the passage out loud.

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Listen: Listen to a speaker read the passage aloud. You do not need to read aloud.
Practice: Listen to the speaker. Repeat after each sentence and check your pronunciation. Model audio not marked up.
Shadow Practice: Read the passage aloud, along with the teacher. You should wear headphones.
Read: Read the passage aloud. Speak at a speed that is natural for you.

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.

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