Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Introducing Billy Collins yesterday was really a way into his Introduction to Poetry. In this poem Collins asks his students to
“...take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide”
When reading these lines I thought of all the color slides of the world, stacked into boxes and drawers and cellars and attics. I imagined mankind’s complete collection of family albums, Himalayas of binders, one on top of the other. I pictured each person’s computer files, hard disks, DVDs. We click click to save moments, click click to freeze time, click click to extract the essence of what we see. Or want to see.
Collins’ call to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide could be reversed. Take one of those color slides and hold it up to the light. Is there a poem here?
But what about all those moments when the camera is left in the bag? What about the moments when sunny skies and cheeeese smiles are sobs, clouds and drizzle?
Is every second of life camera-worthy? If not, why? Is there no beauty in the leftovers, the discarded, the moments I’d rather forget? And is beauty really the right word?