Summary Of Marginalia By Billy Collins

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In the poems “Marginalia” and “Introduction to Poetry”, Billy Collins uses metaphor, personal anecdote, and violent imagery to convey the danger the author is in when they allow people who do not care enough to make educated remarks to freely comment on their work. Collins has dedicated his life to literature and teaching, and he has a large amount of experience in this subject. The main subject of “Marginalia” is the ignorant comments that people often make about literature. “Introduction to Poetry” has a similar message said in a different way: the students that Collins teaches often do not want to fully immerse themselves in the poem. Rather, they try to take shortcuts to find the supposed “true meaning” of the poem. The use of violent imagery makes the reader subconsciously agree with Collins by associating negative images with the actions of ignorant readers. In stanza 1 of “Marginalia”, one comment reads “I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head”. Collins tells the audience that this comment was written in the margins of Kierkegaard or Conor Cruise O’Brien, who are known to be brilliant writers. Before reading this, most of the audience probably would have considered a negative comment harmless- just a statement of opinion. However, the use of words like “bolt” and “beat” convoke extreme negative and violent images that help us realize how detrimental these comments are. Collins also makes the actions of his students seem clumsy and violent. In stanza

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