Excerpt from

Fishing on the Susquehanna in July

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure--if it is a pleasure--
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one--
a painting of a woman on the wall...

Billy Collins home page

Tad Richards on Billy Collins

Equally important in Collins' work is his sense of a connection with the great poets who have preceded him. "In a sense," he says, "all poems are about some other poem. You're always riffing on earlier work. As William Matthews has said, 'A poet is never alone. You're always in the company of the beloved lines of your predecessors.'" At the same time, he points out, influence becomes a fascinating dialog across time. "While you are the audience for great predecessors, they're your audience, as well. Influence is a two-way street. For example, Whitman was an important influence on Ginsberg - but because of Ginsberg, we now read Whitman differently."


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