From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Introduction to Poetry

Introduction to Poetry


by Billy Collins

Introduction to Poetry Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

I ask them to […] (1)

There is a lot of communication (or at least attempted communication) taking place in this poem. The very first line of the poem begins with, "I ask them to." The speaker (a teacher) is asking them (the students) to do something. Questions and directions… that's communication in a nutshell, right?

Quote #2

I say drop a mouse into a poem (5)

A stronger, more direct style of communication begins in Stanza 3. This sounds more like a command. I say do this. I say do that. Sound familiar?

Quote #3

I want them to […] (9)

Stanza 5 begins with "I want." Now the speaker is communicating wants and needs—what he desires. Here, as with "I say" and "I ask them," the communication phrase comes at the beginning of the line and stanza so it is sure to get a lot of attention. Needy speaker, anyone?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...