© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

CHECK OUT SHMOOP'S FREE STUDY TOOLS: Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

Introduction to Poetry

Introduction to Poetry


by Billy Collins

Introduction to Poetry Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Introduction to Poetry" is written in free verse, meaning the poem does not follow any preset patterns. Admit it, you were thinking "free" in the sense of who would pay for this stuff? We could te...


With just a little work, and an educated guess or two, we can pretty easily work out some key information about the poem's speaker.When we take into consideration the scholastic tone of the title a...


For most readers, the title places them in a scholastic setting—you know, sitting in a funky smelling room in an uncomfortable desk (who-knows-what stuck to the underside) with a clock that seems...

Sound Check

Billy Collins is known for writing poems that are plain spoken and direct and this poem totally fits the mold. Overall, the poem basically sounds like everyday speech. In other words, it has a very...

What's Up With the Title?

Titles are almost always important in poems and this one is no exception. First of all, the title functions as we described in the "Summary." It looks like, it sounds like, it is a description from...

Calling Card

Collins' poems often take the form of close, witty observations of the world around him—things from his daily life and experience. In "Introduction to Poetry," Collins draws on his experience as...


True to form (and in keeping with the idea of something introductory), Collins keeps this one pretty clear throughout. The trail is wide and there aren't really any fallen branches to trip you up....


Billy Collins was called "the most popular poet in America" in a New York Times article by Bruce Weber. Being the rock star of the poetry world does afford certain perks—like a six-figure book de...

Steaminess Rating

If you are looking for romance or sexual innuendo, look elsewhere.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search
Noodle's College Search