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my number by billy collins (poem)
Posted by: shayleigh18 (70.9.54.---)
Date: April 22, 2009 03:36PM

can anyone help me with an analysis of the poem my nimber by billy collins??? please and thanks

Re: my number by billy collins (poem)
Posted by: IanAKB (124.168.9.---)
Date: April 22, 2009 06:28PM

Can you post the poem?

Re: my number by billy collins (poem)
Posted by: shayleigh18 (70.9.54.---)
Date: April 22, 2009 07:32PM

yea sorry here it is...

My Number
Billy Collins

Is Death miles away from this house,

reaching for a widow in Cincinnati
or breathing down the neck of a lost hiker
in British Columbia?

Is he too busy making arrangements, 5
tampering with air brakes,
scattering cancer cells like seeds,
loosening the wooden beams of roller coasters
to bother with my hidden cottage
that visitors find so hard to find? 10

Or is he stepping from a black car
parked at the dark end of the lane,
shaking open the familiar cloak,
its hood raised like the head of a crow,
and removing the scythe from the trunk? 15

Did you have any trouble with the directions?
I will ask, as I start talking my way out of this.

Re: my number by billy collins (poem)
Posted by: IanAKB (124.168.9.---)
Date: April 24, 2009 11:05AM

Shayleigh, there are many different ways of analysing any poem.

The analysis can range all the way from (at lowest level) listing of obvious attributes, such as pointing out whether the stanzas have any recognised structure, and whether there is any rhyme scheme, and whether the lines have any regular metre or rhythm; to (at a medium level) identifying and commenting on the existence and effectiveness of any literary devices in the poem, such as simile, metaphor, symbolism, alliteration, assonance, point of view, ambiguity, repetition and personification, and commenting on the poet’s style and choice of words and images and poetic persona, and on whether the title is apt, and on the general tone of the poem; or to (at the highest level, where subjective opinion plays a major part) an appreciation of the poet's presumed intention and theme, and an assessment of how well that has been implemented, and whether the poem has special qualities that make it memorable and distinguish it from or make it comparable to other poems on the same subject matter or in the same genre.

Sometimes a teacher has a personal, or a syllabus-imposed, obsession with some social issue (such as marxism, feminism, or environmental problems) and expects an analysis to focus on what the poem says or fails to say about that issue, rather than on poetic techniques and how well or badly the poem is written.

Has your teacher given you any guidance on what points he/she wants you to cover in analysing this Billy Collins poem?

Your analysis of it might include saying that it's a free verse poem, in tone fairly light-hearted (or at least "cracking hardy"), in which the poetic persona wonders when and how death will come, and that the title "My Number" refers to the well-known description of someone who is about to die as someone whose "number is up".

We at Emule can't do your analysis for you, but if you post your proposed analysis covering the points that your teacher wants covered, we may be able to help by commenting, especially if you appear to be going astray somewhere.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2009 07:45PM by IanAKB.

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