The Interpretation of Fishing on the Susquehanna in July by Billy Collins

The Background
"Fishing on the Susquehanna in July" is a poem composed by the American poet, Billy Collins who was a well known professor at the City University, New York. He served in the Lehman College of the university.

The structure
The poem is written in 13-line stanzas without any noticeable rhyme scheme. This makes it to be very relaxed. It’s equally written as a first person narrative. The poet used imagery, irony and other poetic devices in communicating his message.

The interpretation
"Fishing on the Susquehanna in July" portrays an event which the speaker actually claimed he never experienced. He was interested in fishing on the Susquehanna, yet, he was never curious about it. The speaker decided to experience the fishing in an indirect way by taking a look at a painting. He also sat in a room and tried to imagine the fishing process.

From these two settings described above, the poet, Collins is actually revealing something about his personality. First, he’s very introspective in life. He enjoys the art of painting and also tries to apply it to his situation. Secondly, he likes staying in a quiet room to think and imagine things. He doesn’t enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, yet he marvels at how it is done.

The entire poem is all about the personal experience of the poet. He makes use of the first person in driving home his message. One can easily sense his thoughts and feelings in the poem. His character is also portrayed. He’s a kind of self-centered person. He tells the story by focusing only on himself.

In any case, the theme of the poem focuses on the impact of art. It shows how art can easily offer emotional release when someone takes time to observe it. One can use art to understand experiences he or she has never had.