English Letters Department
ADAB AND HUMANITIES FACULTY
STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY
Submitted to Adab and Humanities Faculty In partial fulfillment of requirements for
The degree of Strata 1.
English Letters Department
ADAB AND HUMANITIES FACULTY
STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY
Submitted to Adab and Humanities Faculty
In partial fulfillment of requirements for
The degree of Strata 1.
Drs. H. Abdul Hamid M.Ed
English Letters Department
ADAB AND HUMANITIES FACULTY
STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY
This thesis concerned about the Imagery explanation and analysis on Billy Collin’s poems entitles: another reason why I don’t keep a gun in the house, The Art of Drowning and Flames. The research need several ways to test data and analyzed by using the collective data in several research sources. The writer uses qualitative method in which he describes the description of the concept of imagery and other meanings to support and influence the theme. It is analyzed qualitatively based on the relevant theory of the study. The writer employs himself to collect data; by reading the text, and marking them to make easier to analyze. The conclusion of the research is the writer found that the three of Billy Collin’s poems have given something valuable as information for the people, and the types of imagery include: Auditory, Visual, Gustatory, and Tactile imageries.
and believe, it contains no material previously published or written by another person nor
material which to a substantial extent has been accepted for the award of any other degree
or diploma of the university or other institute of higher learning, except where due
acknowledgment has been made in text.
Jakarta, June 14 2010
committee on June 14 2010. The thesis has already been accepted as a partial fulfillment of
requirements for the degree of Strata 1.
Jakarta, June 14 2010
Dr. H. M. Farkhan M.Pd (Chair Person) _____________ _____________
NIP. 19650919 200003 1 002
Drs. Asep Saefuddin, M.Pd (Secretary) _____________ _____________
NIP. 19640710 199303 1 006
Drs. H. Abdul Hamid, M.Ed (Advisor) _____________ _____________
NIP. 150 181 922
Dr. Frans Sayogie, M.Pd (Examiner I) _____________ _____________
NIP. 19700310 20003 1 002
Elve Oktafiyani, M.Hum (Examiner II) _____________ _____________
NIP. 19781003 200112 2 002
alone we ask for help, for guidance and everything. He has given the writer many favors.
He has also allowed the writer to finish this paper. It great pleasure for the writer. And May
salutation and benediction be unto the noblest of the last prophet and beloved of Allah,
Muhammad SAW, and May we will always be in the straightway until the end of the world.
This research is presented to the English Department, Faculty of Adab and
Humanities, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta as partial of requirements
for the degree of Strata 1. In finishing this paper, the writer has got some helps and supports
from some people. In these following lines the writer would like to express his thanks to
them who have helped and supported him.
The writer would like to express her special appreciation to:
1. Dr. H. Abdul Wahid Hasyim M.Ag, the Dean of Faculty of Adab and Humanities,
Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University.
2. Dr. H. Muhammad Farkhan, M.Pd, the Chairman of the English Letters
Department, Faculty of Adab and Humanities and Drs. Asep Saefuddin, M.Pd, the
secretary of English Letters Department.
3. Drs. H. Abdul Hamid, M.Ed, the writer’s advisor, fully thanks for your advices and
always guide him to live the best life to be the useful person to everybody also to
the country. The writer’s beloved brother and sisters. Love you all.
6. His classmate in English Letter Department, especially to his best and beloved
friends Chaezar Iqbal A.A.P, S.S, Ratu Prayuana, S.S, Billy, S.S, Raffli,S.S, Wahyu
Rizki Umbara, S.S. his beloved girl, Lilis Nurhayati, SE.Sy. We have been through
a lot of things together, the ups and down of life. Hopefully the memories are
always in your heart, the continuity of the friendship you wish, and thank you all
deeply for your supports and for helping him in such a way of gratefulness.
7. all of Staff of the UIN’s library who have given him a permission to get the
references in completing his research
Finally, the writer hopes that his research can be useful for himself and for all other
students who do a similar-study. Amen.
Jakarta, June 14 2010
Declaration ... iv
Legalization ... v
Acknowledgement ... vi
Table of contents ... viii
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study ... 1
B. Focus of the Study ... 5
C. Research Question ... 5
D. Significance of the Research ... 5
E. Research Methodology ... 5
CHAPTER II THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK A. The Understanding of Poetry... 7
B. The Understanding Imagery ... 8
C. Kinds of Imagery ... 11
D. Explication... 15
E. Theme ... 16
1.2. The Theme... 23
1.3. The imagery... 23
a. Auditory Imagery... 24
b. Visual Imagery... 24
2. Analysis of “The Art o f Dro wning ” 2.1. Explication... 25
2.2. The Theme... 28
2.3. The Imagery... 29
a. Visual Imagery... 29
b. Gustatory Imagery... 30
3. Analysis of “Flam e s” 3.1. Explication... 31
3.2. The Theme... 34
3.3. The Imagery... 34
a. Visual Imagery... 34
b. Tactile Imagery... 35
c. Auditory Imagery... 36
Table I... 37
Appendix 1 the Biography of Billy Collin ... 43
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
A. Background of the Study
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning,
sound, and rhythmic of language choices which evoke an emotional response. Poetry
has an expression of what is thought and felt, rather than what is known as a fact.
Poetry is an ancient form of a literary study that has gone through numerous and
drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual
mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define. Poetry describes specific
thing as indication of how images work together to convey feeling and ideas.
To create a good poetry, a poet usually uses elements in poem that is called
the intrinsic elements and made the readers feel easy to understand what the poet
means. Intrinsic elements are divided into two forms: the physical form and mental
form. The physical form consists of diction, the concrete word, figurative language,
and sound that produced a rhyme and rhythm. While the mental form involves
feeling, sense, tone, and intention.1 From the explanation above, the writer is
interested in analyzing the mental form that focuses on the imagery of the poem. For
the writer, imagery is one of elements in poem that gives a sense full of meaning of
the poem. It is one of the reasons why someone remembers and loves poem. A
powerful image in poetry conjures up memories, feeling in our mind. Poetry is
usually expressed based on our imagination. The important thing is that the image is
an instrument that a poet uses to express his or her intention or feeling. By using of
image means to understand the essential meaning of the poem. A good image puts the
reader right in the scene itself; making the reader be able to see, hear, smell, taste, and
touch what is expressed in the poem. When such specific details appear in poems
called images. An image is a concrete representation of a sense impression, feeling,
or idea.2 And Image is appeal to one or more of our senses, and also images may be
visual (something seen), audotory (something heard), tactile (something felt),
olfactory (something smelled), or gustatory (something tasted). Sometimes the poet
use words imagery to refer a pattern of related details in a poem.
Imagery has always existed in poetry; an image may occur in a single word, a
phrase, and a sentence. And in poetry an image is a presentation in words of
something the poet has perceived. In poem imagery is like the collective word we use
for a group of images. The description may be an object seen, or of a sound, a smell,
a taste, a touch or other physical sensation, or feeling tensions and movements in
one’s own body.3 For the writer, imagery becomes the most important one because
imagery influences to convey the intention and felling of the poets itself. Imagery
seems like the general description in picturing each physical sensation.
Robert DiYanni, Literature; Approach to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama: McGraw Hill Companies, 2001, p.557
Like the poems that are chosen here, the writer chooses Billy Collin’s poems
because the poems are unique and the poems were made by using the good rhythm
and words choice. Billy Collin employs the conventional imagery to construct
commentary on life. Billy Collins’s poetry shines brighter than others due to the
sarcastic yet funny style he uses to create his poems. Collins uses simplistic stanzas to
try to create images that pull the reader away from real life and draw them into his
poetic creation. Billy Collins’s cherished American poetry is featured largely
throughout the United States. His poems rarely follow a significant topic; instead they
are just thoughts that happen to pop into his head. Often, he uses poetry to offer relief
in troubled times for himself and the reader.
Billy Collins, a current teacher at Lehman College, was born in 1941 and had
lived in New York City since his birth. Collins completed his fellowships at the New
York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and The
Guggenheim Foundation. From the day one, his talents as a writer shined through, as
he was able to express his thoughts on paper well throughout grade school. Billy
Collins doesn’t force meter or rhyme into his poems in order to draw the reader’s
attention; instead he uses his witty descriptions and comedy. As quoted by Richard
Alleva in his article of "A major minor poet": “The most important thing to say about
Collins is that he is a deliberately minor poet, even a rebelliously minor poet, a poet
who would reject major status if it were thrust upon him.” (Alleva, Richard. "A Major
Minor Poet") Billy Collins has excelled his way through poetry fairly easy with his
Billy Collins has been very successful in creating six published books and is
featured around the country. His poetry is in many periodicals, and he does a lot of
public reading in which he draws a large crowd. Collins has earned many awards for
his incredible explanations through words. He won Best American Poetry twice for
two of his books, once in 1992 and once in 1993. He won the Bess Hokin award in
1992, and finally, most recently was named US Poet Laureate in 2001. This award is
one of the greatest, if not the greatest, awards received by a poet. Billy Collins has
had no shortage of published books. The six currently published are: Nine Horses,
Sailing Alone Around the room, Picnic Lightning, The Best Cigarette, The Art of
Drowning, Questions about Angels and The Apple that Astonished Paris. Collins
continues to strive as an achieved poet as people continue to find his simplistic poetry
The writer would like to analyze three of Billy Collin’s poem such; Another
reason why I don't keep a gun in the house, The Art of Drowning, and Flames these
poems were written by different source publishers. It is obviously a good poem of
Collin’s poem. Collin used imagery and word choice to create this poem, but more
importantly to express the emotional significance that is implied.
Then, in this research, the writer would like to analyze imagery and theme in
those poems. And before analyzing imagery, the writer explicates the poems to get
the ideas and meaning on each poem. Then, he will connect his analysis with theme
B. Focus of the Study
The research focused on imagery elements that construct Billy Collin’s poems,
when the imagery element influences the theme of each poem. The poems that will be
analyzed are: Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house, The Art of
Drowning, and Flames.
C. Research Question
From the explanation above, the writer wants to propose the questions bellow:
1. What types of imagery are found in Billy Collin’s poem?
2. How does imagery convey the theme of each poem?
D. Significance of the Research
The write hopes the research could increase the knowledge for the readers,
especially the poetry lover, how to understand the imagery correlated with the theme
in Billy Collin’s poem. Besides, the writer also hopes the research will support the
reader to be more interested in poetry itself.
E. Research Methodology
1. The Objective of the Research:
Related to the research question above, this research intends:
a. To describe about the content of imagery found in Billy Collin’s poems.
b. To know the effect of imagery that can refer to the theme.
2. The Method of the Research
This study uses qualitative method with descriptive analysis by explicating of
Billy Collin’s poem. The selected poems are: Another reason why I don't keep a gun
in the house, The Art of Drowning, and Flames.
3. Technique of Data Analysis
The writer uses descriptive analysis technique which is supported by the relevant
To analyze the data, this research uses the following steps:
a. Reading all the content of text of poetry.
b. Explicating the poetry in detail.
c. Signing up the words which have imagery element.
d. Analyzing the collected data, and then proposing the suitable theme.
e. Writing a report of the study.
4. Instrument of the Research
The instrument of the research is the writer himself through reading and marking
the data which contain imagery and the theme in Billy Collin’s poem.
5. Unit of Analysis
The analysis unit of the research is three poems by Billy Collin. They are:
Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house, The Art of Drowning (is his fifth
book of poetry Series publication prize, Copyright © 1995 by the University of
Pittsburgh Press), and Flames.
6. Time and Place
The research conducted in the eighth semesters of years 2009/2010 and took
A. The Understanding of Poetry
Poetry, like life, is one thing essentially a continuous substance or energy, poetry
is a historically a connected movement, a series of successive integrated
manifestations. Each poet, from homer or the predecessors of homer to our own day,
has been, to some degree and at some point, the voice of movement and energy of
poetry; in him, poetry has for the moment become visible, audible, and incarnate; and
his extant poems are the record left of that partial transitory incarnation. The progress
of poetry, with its vast power and exalted function, is immortal.4 Poetry affords the
clearest examples of subordination of reference to attitude and it is the supreme form
of emotive language. According to Perrine, poetry might be defined as a kind of
language that says more and says intensely than ordinary language does. It means that
poetry uses certain language: it is not ordinary language that we use everyday.5
Poems are usually very compressed. Often a complex experience of meaning and
emotion can came out of few words. That means that each word of the poem counts
heavily, so that it’s absolutely necessary for a good reader to master all the words of
I.A Richard, 2001 Principles of literary Criticism, London and New York, Rutledge Classics, p.15
the poem- to look them up if necessary, and to think through all their meanings to feel
their emotional impact.
As literary work, poetry relatively used the language more compact than prose.
For some people, poem seems too difficult. According to Mc. Laughlin, “poetry are
difficult because the language used are precision and flair”.6 Through the language poets want to make us as readers to explore how the language works. While
Wordsworth defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings;"
Emily Dickinson said, "If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can
warm me, I know that is poetry;" and Dylan Thomas defined poetry this way: "Poetry
is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes
me want to do this or that or nothing." But poetry, unlike prose, often has an
underlying and over-arching purpose that goes beyond the literal. Poetry is evocative.
It typically evokes in the reader an intense emotion: joy, sorrow, anger, catharsis,
love. Alternatively, poetry has the ability to surprise the reader with an Ah Ha!
Experience, revelation, insight, further understanding of elemental truth and beauty.7
B. The Understanding of Imagery
The use of imagery in poetry is essential for a comprehension of the overall
meaning. Images are essentially word-pictures and they usually work by a method of
Thomas Mc. Laughlin, Literature: the Power of Language, New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Publisher, 1989, p.11
association. This means that the images are created by associations that we make as
readers within the linguistic context of the text. For example, the word "red"
immediately creates an image or picture of the color red in our minds. This color is
associated or has connotations with other feelings or images, like anger, and this
increases the depth of the poem. The important thing to remember is that the images
are an instrument that the poet uses to express his or her intentions or feelings.
Understanding the use of images means understanding the essential meaning of the
poem. According to Perrine, imagery may be defined as the representation through
language of sense experiences. Poetry appeals directly to our sense, of course,
through its music and rhythms, which we actually her when it is read aloud. And but
indirectly it appeals to our sense through imagery, the representation to the
imagination of sense experience.8 Imagery as a mental picture is more incidental to a
poem than metaphors, symbols, and theme and they are often confused. An image is
language use in such a way to help us to see, hear, feel, thing about or generally
understand more clearly or vividly what is being said or the impression that the writer
wishes to convey. An image in poetry refers to the words or the language a writer use
to convey a concrete mental impression, which may be visual, creating a “picture” in
the readers imagination, or sensory in others ways.
Imagery is a type of language which creates a sense impression, represents an
idea, and thus heightens expression. The poet often articulates his/ her insights
through image of figurative language.9 The most common images include
comparisons, such as simile and symbol that is used to represent something else.
According to Mc. Laughlin in his book, literature: the power of language page 39,
first an image is a reflection-not the thing itself, but a reproduction of its appearances
in another form. Second, in popular usage an image is a false version of the self,
intended for a public audience.
In tradition literary usage the term image refer to a poem’s ability to evoke the
experiences of the senses. Images in poems try to make readers feel as though they
are in the scene that the poem describes.
To imagine the imagery in such as a poem is not easy, they are two
techniques to convey imagery in a poem. For the first, a poet or speaker must use a
description. It describes an object like observation or ideas through words. The
second, it can be used with the figure of speech.10 Nevertheless, the readers that want
to identify imagery, which is explicit in the text, they must be active and creative to
reveal meaning because imagery can only be describe if the reader immersed
The American Experience: Poetry, 1968, New York: The Macmillan Company, p.8
C. The kind of imagery
Imagery refers to words used to evoke a sensory experience, including sight,
sound, smell, touch, and taste. Consequently, although image seems to refer to
something that can be seen, imagery is also the term used to describe anything in a
poem that appeals to the senses. In the analysis of the experiences of reading poem,
imagery very closely associated with sensations of poem, then. Perrine divided
imagery into seven kinds, there are bellows:
1. Visual imagery (Images of sight)
Visual imagery is something seen in the mind’s eye. Visual imagery is kind of
imagery that occurs most frequently in poetry. They sense can be explained on words
worth’s poem “draffodils”.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on hogh o’er values and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host, of golden and daffodils:
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
This poem images z person is walking through a field in early summer,
around an aqua blue lake. You discover a field of daffodils that is flowing in motion
like a grand “dance” full of elegance. This is full of sublime that can be seen in
Visual imagery means visual sensations of words do not commonly occur by
themselves. They have certain regular companions so closely tied to them as to be
only with difficulty disconnected. The chief of these are the auditory image- the
sound of the words in the mind’s ear- and the image of articulation-the feel in the lips,
mouth, and throat, of what the words would be like to speak.11
2. Auditory imagery (Images of hearing)
It represents a sound in the text. This imagery appeared in Yeats’s poem for
example “leda and the swam”
How those can terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where its lie?
In this stanza, the author gives sound effect such as the beat of the heart to explain
the girl’s anxiety. The girl heart tapped very fast when the swan attacks her rapidly
and push her until she do anything. Her chest heaved in rhythm with his wildly
Auditory images of words are among the most obvious of mental happenings.
Any line of verse or prose slowly read, will, for most people, sound mutely in the
imagination somewhat as it would if read aloud.12 And the principal confusion which
prevents a clear understanding of the point at issue does, however, concern images
and may be dealt with here. It is of great importance in connection with the topic of
3. Organic Imagery (images of motion)
In is an internal sensation, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, or nursea. For example; in “lord Randal” ballad.
“O where have ye been, lord randal, my son?
O where have ye been, my handsome young man?”
“I here been to wild wood; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary will hunting, and fain would lie down”.
In the stanza above, we feel that the prince is tired and he wants to faint lie down.
When his mother asked him, the prince answer appears soft- hearted that we can look
in the text. This ballad `is talk about the prince that poisoned by his girl.
4. Olfactory Imagery (images of smell)
This sense represents the smell of perfume and the smell decomposed rubbish.
We can feel this imagery in frost’s poem “out out”. This poem told about a young
boy who dies as a result of cutting his hand using a saw.
The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove- length sticks of wood
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it
In this stanza, the author uses some imagery. The first lines, he uses the auditory
imagery, and the second lines he uses the visual imagery, and the last lines frost uses
the olfactory imagery. He told with the words: “sweet-scented stuff when the breeze
drew across it”. This line appears smell nuance.
5. Tactile Imagery (images of touch)
Tactile imagery it represents external touch such as hot, cold or when we touch
something hard such as we touch wood, iron, stone etc. we can find this imagery
when we read Shakespeare’s sonnet.
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezing have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
In this sonnet, our mind also involved in this sense that the speaker who is far
away with his/ her love like at the winter. He feels alone and his/ her days are seen.
6. Gustatory Imagery (images of taste)
Gustatory imagery it represents tastes like bitter or sour. We can find this imagery
just in the title “after apple-picking” poem by Robert frost. When we read this title
7. Kinesthetic Imagery (images of heat and cold)
This imagery represents movement such as the movement of muscle or joints.
Frost example in frost’s poem “after apple-picking”.
“I felt the leader sway as the boughs bend”. (Line 23)
In this line, the author uses “sway as the boughs bend”. In this word, exactly, we
understood the meaning.
An explication is a very specific kind of exercise, designed to help the readers
understand a text fully; it is a kind of training in literary perception where the readers
are asked to consider a single poem in detail. The idea and practice of explication is rooted in the verb to explicate, which concerns the process of "unfolding" and of
"making clear" the meaning of things, so as to make the implicit explicit. The
expression "explication" is used in both analytic philosophy and literary theory.
An explication is a close reading of a single poem or passage of poetry. The
purpose of this exercise originally to talks about the meanings of the poem primarily
in terms of how the poem works that is trough diction, stanza and line structure,
meter, rhythm and imagery. In other resource, X.J. Kennedy and Dana Giola explain,
to show how each part contributes to the whole.” a good explication requires some
basic familiarity with the language of poetry.13
A poem may be about anything, such topics as love, death, nature and beauty
have traditionally been regarded as subjects particularly suitable to poetry; and poets
have made many worthwhile statements and explored many profound ideas through
such subjects. But poem may be about ordinary things and then the theme articulated
the idea, general truth, or commentary on life people brought out through a literary
According to Robert DiYanni the theme defined as an idea or intellectually
apprehensible meaning inherent and implicit in a work “. In other words, a theme is a
particular meaning that might identify in a poem. There is rarely only one theme, as
poems are complex, poems can be interpreted from many different angles (as our
powers of perception are equally complex).15 And according to James Pickering that
theme may be defined as “the controlling idea or Meaning of a work of art” in
literature, theme is the central idea or statement about life that unifies and contrasts
the total work. The theme must be simple, objective, and specific. The theme in
poetry has to relate with the author and his/her imagination concept. Instead of theme
X.J. Kennedy and Dana Giola, an Introduction to Poetry. 10th Ed. New York: Longman, 2002, p.609
The American Experience: Poetry, 1968, New York: The Macmillan Company, p.396
is a specific characteristic that is related to poets. It is the basic idea which the poet is
trying to convey the imagery.
In a work of literature, Theme can be defined as the idea about the message of
life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and
may be implied rather than stated explicitly. Theme is the dominant idea that a writer
is trying to convey to his readers in a work of literature.
The controlling idea of a poem is the idea continuously developed throughout the
poem by sets of key words that identify the poet's subject and his attitude or feeling
about it. It may also be suggested by the title of a poem or by segment of the poem.
It is rarely stated explicitly by the poet, but it can be stated by the reader and it can be
stated in different ways. The controlling idea is an idea, not a moral; it is a major
idea, not a minor supporting idea or detail; and it controls or dominates the poem as a
The word theme used to name the particular subject matter of the poem in
relationship to the reader's previous observation of the life about him and within him.
Theme, then, refers to those broad generalizations and high-order abstractions which
each person develops in dealing with the common experiences of life. Each of us was
born, and each of us will die. And, then no one of us can report his own birth of his
own dearth, everyone had had some personal observation at first of second hand of
the elemental and universal facts of life, Birth and Death. So, too, every mature
person has had some experience of what we shall call of Heart of and Mind, of
Friendship and of Love, of Youth and Of Nature and of Art, of Work and of Play, of
War and of Justice, of Doubt and of Terror; and most persons will add that they have
had some experience of Faith and of God and is not complete list of universal
experiences, but it will do to suggest the possible range of poetic themes.
CHAPTER III RESEARCH FINDINGS
In this finding, the writer presents these perspectives of analysis, they are: the
explication of the poem; the theme and the types of imagery in each poem, and the
last of this chapter the writer make the table as the general hypothesis in this
research-so, the analyses are described as follows.
1. Analysis of “Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house” 1.1. Explication
Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house By Billy Collins
The neighbors' dog will not stop barking. He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark that he barks every time they leave the house. They must switch him on on their way out. The neighbors' dog will not stop barking. I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast but I can still hear him muffled under the music, barking, barking, barking,
and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra, his head raised confidently as if Beethoven had included a part for barking dog.
When the record finally ends he is still barking, sitting there in the oboe section barking,
while the other musicians listen in respectful silence to the famous barking dog solo, that endless coda that first established Beethoven as an innovative genius.
In this poem actually tells about the contrasting perception of human and animal’s
characterization both of creatures are not different. This is neither a poem about a dog
nor a gun, but - dare the writer suggest it is a poem of madness.
This poem consists of five stanzas which meaning connected to each other, in the
first stanzas, the poet describes the dog as a character which doesn’t stop barking.
The dog doesn’t stop the high sound like before, rhythmic bark. Like the sentences
The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.
The explanations on Billy Collin’s poem are to describe how humans are just
like other species of inferior dogs, as shown in the whole poem how they cannot get
the dog to stop of barking. The word ‘barking’ in the first sentence of the first stanza
shows that the poet uses sound as a poetic voice makes the readers actually hear the
barking of the dog.
The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
In his poem, Billy Collins draws a scene of him sitting in his house attempting
to endure the barking of the neighbors’ dog. It is described in the above second stanza
He tries everything to do including closing all the windows and even putting on a
Beethoven symphony on full blast. Nothing works, and he continues to hear the dog’s
muffled bark. In the next stanzas, he begins to believe the dog’s barking is a part of
the symphony as he explains it in the following lines:
“and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.”
He imagines the dog standing, chin up, waiting for the conductor to cue him
in. Billy Collins uses personification to give the dog human qualities and show him as
stronger or equal to a human because the character here means the poet itself cannot
make the dog calm down. Where in the second sentences of this stanzas Collin uses
simile “as if” to know the reader about the characterization of the dog if he want
seems human. Collin indicates the dog character as just the human characterization;
arrogant, tight, gruff or other character of the dog. This similar meaning when in one
thing of characteristic both human and dog illustrated. It is shown in his two stanzas
in the last of poem, as stated below:
When the record finally ends he is still barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton
while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.
Collins creates a vivid scene of the endlessness of this dog while still
throwing in comedy and sarcasm. Those are the unique of Collin’s poem. Uses a
simple imagination, simple dictions, and refers to what human just doing in their
daily life even just heard. And the poet uses a simple imagination in his poem to
make easier in understanding to the reader but sometimes he uses the humor
statement in his poem; it means that the poet clearly uses the unique imagination like
personifies one thing with other simplify such in the two last stanzas show us that the
dog personify the human character, in the two stanzas above, Collin’s influences the
reader to be reflected in mind but only uses the simplistic words. As a symbolization
both of them, in commonly the substances of Collin’s poem come from the reality
case like the human neighborhood even with the near people, sometime human
doesn’t understand each other. They don’t feel pleasure anytime, people live in
1.2. The Theme
After explicating the poem furthermore the writer connects to the theme as the
main idea in this poem. And from the discussion in the previous descriptions, the
writer concludes that the theme of ‘Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the
house’is “Human sometimes doesn’t understand each other even thought live beside
home” the title explains that every people refers to a good willingness it as a basic
character to understand, but the content of this chapter shows us how important of
relation among human but sometimes human doesn’t understand each other. And it is
real of this poem illustrated that finally neither human nor different of animal
characterization; human know the strangeness and weaknesses, human can do
everything, and also human doesn’t reflected what they should do. Here actually the
point that Collin wants the reader knows as a critic.
1.3. The Imagery
Imagery is the important element in poem, which gives the influences of the
poem itself. Imagery can also convey the theme of the poetry. It makes easier
something that represents a thing in the real world. It evokes if the reader has
sensitive feeling. Imagery will he found in the word or sequence of the words that
refers to any sensory experience, not only in sight, but it may be sound or a touch or
the other ways. And in this part, the writer discusses of imagery of Billy Collin’s
poem as shown in the explanation of the previous discussion, and then the writer
a. Auditory Imagery
Auditory imagery uses to know the meaning of its poem, then to create an
understanding of the reader’s hearing. The poet uses auditory imagery to show the
reader the purpose of the poem written and to evoke the reader by imagination on
every statement in the poem. The word ‘barking’ as indicator of this kind of imagery,
the auditory mean something heard. And the word barking denotes a voice which is
heard by every people and in this poem, auditory imagery describes something
habitually in that time. It is the purpose of the poet to invite the reader feel inside the
Auditory imagery presents as apart of images in this poem. As shown in
the words “full blast, and the words repetition; barking, barking, barking”. (second
stanzas) the words indicate something heard by the reader, it is the dog’s voices.
b. Visual Imagery
In this poem, by the simple illustration in each stanza of the poem, Billy
Collin wants the reader to come inside to the story, to feel the plot of the poem. And
in this case, Visual imagery rises in several stanzas in this poem, as described in the
The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house (line 2, second stanzas)
and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
Those sentences visualize that how difficult to change the dog’s attitude to
come out of the house, the poet wants the reader to participate in understanding the
meaning of his poem. Imagery here, as the central idea segmented. Imagery explains
with the concept to visualize, imagine each poem and finally to know the central idea
or theme of each poem.
2. Analysis of “The Art of Drowning”
The Art of Drowning By Billy Collins
I wonder how it all got started, this business about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence, could startle time into such compression, crushing decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds. After falling off a steamship or being swept away in a rush of floodwaters, wouldn't you hope for a more leisurely review, an invisible hand turning the pages of an album of photographs-
you up on a pony or blowing out candles in a conic hat. How about a short animated film, a slide presentation?
Your life expressed in an essay, or in one model photograph? Wouldn't any form be better than this sudden flash?
dawning on you with all its megalithic tonnage. But if something does flash before your eyes as you go under, it will probably be a fish, a quick blur of curved silver darting away,
having nothing to do with your life or your death. The tide will take you, or the lake will accept it all as you sink toward the weedy disarray of the bottom, leaving behind what you have already forgotten,
the surface, now overrun with the high travel of clouds.
This poem tells about truthful and it’s so straightforward. This poem describes
about the experience of the poet itself. In the first stanzas Billy Collin makes a
description about his problem that he wonders. He describes in words what he wants
to suggest with the problem and he shows with the gesture of body and soul.
I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds.
The words panic, drown compression, crushing used to show the reader what the
poet feels with his problem, Billy Collin makes the simple analogical with these
words because Collin wants the reader to catch the point what the problem raises up.
In the second stanza Collin invites the reader to make the explanation in
understanding this poem; he visualizes the place in a rush of floodwater. And in the
third stanza, Billy Collin makes the imagination of his work. He personifies the life is
Collin wants to know the reader that our life sometime is the same like this. As he
How about a short animated film, a slide presentation?
Your life expressed in an essay, or in one model photograph?
Wouldn't any form be better than this sudden flash?
Your whole existence going off in your face
in an eyebrow-singeing explosion of biography-
nothing like the three large volumes you envisioned.
But in the next stanzas, the poets illustrated the best answers for this:
Survivors would have us believe in a brilliance here, some bolt of truth forking across the water, an ultimate Light before all the lights go out, dawning on you with all its megalithic tonnage. But if something does flash before your eyes as you go under, it will probably be a fish,
The poet explains in this stanza about the advices of survivor which come to
us to believe that everything in life has some consequences; we have to make the life
valuable, meaningful and useful before something supports to go out from us. In the
sixth lines of fourth stanzas, he uses simile to make the description of human like the
fish under the water. Anything doesn’t come to us without the willingness of us.
Another stanza told:
leaving behind what you have already forgotten, the surface, now overrun with the high travel of clouds
The last stanza shows as a message in this poem for the reader relates to the
points of Billy Collin’s purpose. We don’t worry about the life if we have a resolution
of it. The best point in this stanza is that we have to know having nothing to do with
the life and the death, but what the tide will be taken, or the lake will accept it.
2.2. The Theme
Generally, ‘the art of drowning’ tells about the experience of the poet himself,
tells his life, describes any problem in his life as he wants to show the reader what
shall everybody do to the best choice. This poem is also full of a valuable message.
How the life is, how the poet explains about his wonderness about any business in
life, he explains life flashes before the eyes while everybody looks drown, panic, and
crushing. This is the unique of Billy Collin’s poem because he always uses a humor
in every sentence.
This poem impresses anyone who reads it, we know how he personify the life like
the story of animated film, a slide presentation furthermore Collin doesn’t stop to
think the life is like in an essay or in one model of photograph. The clues given
supposed to the reality of our life.
From that discussion above, the writer concludes that the theme of ‘the art of
drowning’ is “We ought to be positive thinking to look up any problems in life there is
a quick blur of curved silver darting away,
having nothing to do with your life or your death.
The tide will take you or the lake will accept it all
This sentences show how as the guidance of ourselves, many ways that we should
choose in the right way. As the guidance of ourselves.
2.3. The Imagery
a. Visual Imagery
The visual imagery of this poem is shown us clearly and we can see it in
the statements below:
About seeing your life flash before your eyes. (Line, 2, first stanza)
In the first stanza of Billy Collin makes a description of the problem, he
personifies the business when seeing the life likes flash before the eyes. Imagery is
shown in the following statements:
In a rush of floodwaters, wouldn’t you hope (line 2, second stanza)
This sentence used by the poet as if he invited the readers to come and feel
the situation in the story, as he wants to make the readers feel the rush of floodwater.
However, he also explains about somebody who disagrees about it. It shown in an
emotional word of the poet. Then he invites the reader to imagine the life like his
experience in his imagination; imagine a short animated film, a slide presentation,
How about a short animated film, a slide presentation? (Line 1, third stanzas)
In an eyebrow-singing explosion of biography- (line6, third stanzas)
b. Gustatory Imagery
The writer also finds gustatory imagery in Billy Collin’s poem in first
stanza. This poem explains the inside feelings of the poet, as a part of gustatory, as
shown in the sentences below:
“Could startle time into such compression, crushing”
The writer assumes that the poet’s statement written as a confession of the
poet himself, it comes while his feeling is uncertain like he uses the word
compression, and crushing which tell inside felling of someone. As mentioned in the
previous sentences of the poem tell us that the poet seems as a panic person.
Gustatory indicates the same thing of feeling inside. Billy Collin uses a variety of
sound devices in the poem to evoke the reader’s feelings and furthermore it
influences to the theme of the poem as a general idea in Collin’s poems because
imagery known refers to the main issues of the poem.
In “the art of drowning” poem, there is a clue as imagination of the poets
to make clearly what the poem talking about, what the problems or issues which the
poets want supposed to. The writer also generalizes the poem into the theme to
3. Analysis of “Flames” with a red can of gasoline and a box of wooden matches. His ranger's hat is cocked at a disturbing angle. He is sick of dispensing warnings to the careless, the half-wit camper, the dumbbell hiker. He is going to show them how a professional does it
In our mind, “the word flames” describes something flame up such as the shine of
fire but the poet here doesn’t explain what the mean is. There are so many clues that
indicate what story about; Smokey, the bear heads, and others. The simple poem of
Billy Collin comprises with the symbols hidden in each word. The word flame
personifies the meaning of the poem-contexts.
In the first stanza, Billy Collin begins with the word Smokey. The writer assumes
that Smokey as a character of imagination of the poet may be it like the animal or as
sentences of each stanza started by the pronouns. It stated to make the reader knows
that the pronouns refer to the main character of this story, is the Smokey.
Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches
For the first sentence of the first stanza, Billy Collin imagines the Smokey as
someone who comes to the jungle, this poem at least talks about the description of the
environment. Someone walks to the jungle in autumn with his properties or tools
which he brought, enthusiastic, with the soul spirit. In the first stanza, he mentions
that he goes with a red of gasoline, a box of wooden matched. As a camper
(everybody who hikes and stays in a mountain for a while) the writer assumes that he
is a youth whom has the big spirit to go anywhere.
In the second stanza explains that the character here goes with the hat on his head
in irregular position.
His ranger's hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle
In the next stanzas, the poet illustrates the man body. Walking under the sun and
on the gleams sun to his skin looks brown. Billy Collin uses simile in describing the
His brown fur gleams
as his paws, the size
of catcher's mitts,
crackle into the distance
The sentences in this stanza explain that the man here hikes the road of jungle
under the high sunshine as his paws, the size of catcher’s mitts. And then the step of
the man’s walking crackle into the distance of his journey.
The Youngman with the big spirit is like the flames, the shine of fire walking to
the jungle sometimes there are no purposes rationally, May the writer assumes that
the man wants to show up his personality which is strong, brave like the fire
illustrated in strongful. Like another professional camper or walker the young man
stands for his believes. But in the next stanza the poet explains.
He is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper,
the dumbbell hiker.
The man has got sick in his way of hiking, ignorance the warning of jungle’s hike
rules. He doesn’t understand the procedures of camping in the jungle. He stands with
the bad assumption, by performing his strong physic only.
He is going to show them
how a professional does it
The last stanza explaining or answering the purpose of the man, walking to the
know how professional he is it but, he never knows how he is with her spirit of the
young just like the flames.
3.2. The Theme
The word “flames” uses to explain a vivid image about something known by
the poet, but the writer assumes the poet, Billy Collin here, uses a personification to
make a comparation. The word flames personifies to the something like Smokey the
bear heads. Smokey gives up because it's pointless to anything, even human’s name.
The poet explains the word Smokey in other stanzas to give an initial that Smokey
means someone; everybody doesn’t understand the values of life or how he must live
in equal life with everything as well as his environments. Billy Collins is someone
who has an equal life with everything even with his environment. It means, Billy
Collins cares about his environment. He says that basically Smokey the bear is giving
up because it’s pointless in his life. Smokey is a hypocrite-personification.
In this discussion, the writer concludes that the theme of flames is ‘anything
will be better, if it is located on its own place”.
3.3. The Imagery
a. Visual Imagery
Billy Collin has a unique poem, basically he uses a simple imagination in
writing his poem, to make the reader are interesting, Collin uses the visual imagery to
the several words explaining the imaginative smoking as the bear heads in the autumn
with all equipment as a hiker wants to make a road to the mountain.
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches
The words such as autumn woods, a red can of gasoline, a box of wooden
matches are the initials of visual imagery to make the story of the poem clear and
easy to be understood by the readers of the poem.
b. Tactile Imagery
Tactile imagery is also used in this poem to show the reader to feel the
character perception, to make the reader feels inside, feels like the character in the
story. Now, let us observe the sentence below.
under the high sun (line 2, third stanzas)
This sentence denotes the reader about where the place of the story is and
what the character done. The poet here invites the reader to imagine that the character
here is in the jungle walking under the high sun.
c. Auditory Imagery
Crackle into the distance (line 5, third stanzas)
The word “crackle” shows the reader about a sound of walking man in the
jungle when the sunshine comes high. And the man goes as his paws into the distance
From the analysis of the three poems above, it can be summarizes as in the
The tables illustrate the hypothesis of the writer in analyzing the three poems
of Billy Collin.
Æ The neighbors' dog will not stop barking. .(line
Æ Silence to the famous
barkingdogsolo, (line 2, last stanza).
2. The Art of Drowning.
Æ About seeing your life flash before your eyes.
(Line, 2, first stanza).
Æ In a rush of floodwaters,
wouldn’t you hope (line 2, second stanza).
Æ Could startle time into such compression,
Æ Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
Æ crackle into the distance
(line 5, third stanzas).
CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
To understand the poem in detail, the readers have to know the elements in a
poem, such intrinsic elements. Some important elements in the poem are imagery and
theme. Most figures of speech draw up a picture in the reader mind. These pictures
created or suggested by the poet are called 'images'. To participate fully in the world
of poem, we must understand how the poet uses image to convey more than what is
actually said or literally meant.
Imagery refers to the "pictures" which we perceive with our mind's eyes, ears,
nose, tongue, skin, and through which we experience the "duplicate world" created by
poetic language. Imagery evokes the meaning also and truth of human experiences
not only in abstract terms, as in philosophy, but also in more perceptible and tangible
forms. This is a device by which the poet makes his meaning strong, clear and sure.
The poet uses sound words and words of color and touch in strengthening figures of
speech as well as to concrete details that appeal to the reader's senses which are used
to build up images.
Billy Collin’s poem contains deep meaning in each of his poem. Imagery in
uses the imagery in his poem in order to the readers feel the author’s experience in
reading the poem.
Billy Collins’s poem shines brighter than others due to the sarcastic yet funny
style he uses to create his poem. Collins uses simplistic stanzas to try to create images
that pull the reader away from the real life and draw them into his poetic creation.
Billy Collins’s poem cherishes American poetry which is featured largely throughout
the United States. He uses poetry to believe his troubled times for himself and the
Through this study, the writer would like give suggestions; for the student
who are interested in studying poems and their imagery. They can use other related
references to enrich their understanding about the imagery, for the reader who want to
understand the poem-contents, he should read the text of the poem repeatedly in order
to he can explicate the poem perfectly.
And finally, the writer hopes that this study could become a contribution for
the readers who want to know the poem and help the reader to have better
understanding of the poem, especially about imageries and theme, and this study
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The Biography of Billy Collin
The American poet, William A. (“billy”) Collin was born on 22nd March 1941 in New York City. He rendered two subsequent terms from 2001 to 2003, as the prestigious Poet Laureate of the United States. I n 1992, Billy Collins was honored by the New York Public Library as a Literary Lion. I n 2004, he
was chosen as the New York State Poet. Billy Collins has written many Poetry, some of the popular ones are “Pokerface”
published in 1977, “Video Poems” published in 1980, “The Apple That Astonished Paris” in 1988, “Questions About Angels” in 1991, “The Art of Drowning” in 1995, “Picnic, Lightning” in 1998, “Nine Horses” in 2002, “The Trouble with Poetry” in 2005, “She Was Just Seventeen” in 2006 and the latest “Ballistics” was published in 2008.
Collin took birth in the house of William and Katherine Collins. He did his schooling at “Archbishop Stepinac High School” in a town named White Plains. Billy Collins attained his bachelor's degree in 1963 from the “College of the Holy Cross” and obtained his Post Graduation and Ph.D in English from the “University of California” at Riverside.
Billy Collins started his career in 1968, as a professor in the English department at “Lehman College” in Bronx. He also served as a launching Advisory Board member of the prestigious CUNY I nstitute for I rish-American studies at “Lehman College”. During the late seventees Billy Collins took up educational assignments as visiting professor and writer at the “Sarah Lawrence College” in New York..
I n 1994, Collin was honored as the "Poet of the Year" by the famous monthly poetry journal entitled “Poetly”. Collin’s collection of thirty four poems titled “The Best Cigarette” turned out to be a bestseller in 1997. I n 2002, Billy recorded his two poems in the audio version of the popular Garrison Kellor’s collection “Good Poems”. He did a live recording in 2005 at the Peter Norton Symphony Space, titled "Billy Collins Live” in New York City.
The Poetry Foundation honored Collins with the “Mark Twain Prize” in the category of Humor in Poetry in 2005. Billy Collins also earned fellowships from three prestigious foundations: the “New York Foundation for the Arts”, the “John Simon Guggenheim Foundation” and “National Endowment for the Arts”.
Billy Collin Literary Works and Awards
Over t he years, Poet ry m agazine has aw ar ded him several prizes in recognit ion of poem s t hey publish. During t he 1990s, Collins has w on five such pr izes. The m agazine also select ed him as " Poet of t he Year" in 1994. He has received fellowships from t he Nat ional Endowm ent for t he Art s, t he John Sim on Guggenheim Foundat ion in 1993, and t he New York Foundat ion for t he Art s.
B illy Co llin s ( 19 4 1 - P re s e n t)
Billy Collins ( born March 22 1941) is an accom plished Am erican poet w ho served t w o t erm s as t he elevent h Poet Laureat e of t he Unit ed St at es. I n his hom e st at e, he has been recognized as a Lit erary Lion of t he New York Public Libr ar y and select ed as t he New York St at e Poet for 2004.
He was born William Collins in a sm all William Carlos William s
worked as a Holy Cross College, and earned a rom ant ic poet ry at t he 1971.
Collin is a dist inguished Professor of English at Cit y Universit y of New York, w here he t aught from 1968 t o 2001 and has rem ained a m em ber of t he facult y. More recent ly, he has t aught
• The Art of Drowning ( 1995) , which was a Lenore Marshall Poet ry Prize
• Quest ions About Angels ( 1991) , t he winner ( t wo years lat er) of t he Nat ional Poet ry Series com pet it ion
• The Apple That Ast onished Paris ( 1988)
• Video Poem s ( 1977)
He recorded The Best Cigaret t e in 1997, a collect ion of 33 of his poem s. He also recorded t wo of his poem s for t he audio versions of Garrison Keillor's collect ion Good Poem s ( 2002) .