Study Guide

Man Listening to Disc Art and Culture

By Billy Collins

Art and Culture

"Man Listening to Disc" is all about music—jazz music, that is. We get drums and saxophones and pianos and bass instruments, and all these are working together as they blast through the speaker's headphones to make him really, really happy. Music does that to us. (For example, how happy do we get listening to Taylor Swift? Very happy). So Collins' poem is a tribute to the beauty of jazz music. It's a tribute to the way that art and culture—music in this case—enrich our lives.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. In what ways does jazz music enrich the speaker's experience in this poem? What does this suggest about what art and culture add to our everyday lives?
  2. Why does the speaker describe the jazz musicians he's listening to as if they're actually walking beside him down the street?
  3. Why does the music make the speaker feel like he's the "center of the universe"?

Chew on This

This poem is trying to point out how music makes us feel like we're better than everyone else around us.

Actually, the goal of this poem is to show us how music makes us feel like we're connected to everyone else around us.

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