Sunday, June 28, 2009

How is inquiry different?

I have always loved this poem. It is by US poet, Billy Collins. Although it is about exploring poetry I think that it could just as easily be used as a way of understanding the beauty of the inquiry approach to research, the ways in which we engage on a more meaningful and deeper level when we allow ourselves time to approach topics from different directions rather than trying to squeeze everything out of it with a single, harsh approach:

Introduction to Poetry

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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