What poets changed the way you thought about writing?
Reading Ocean Vuong has reinvigorated me as a writer. I had been in a slump, or a panic of self-doubt, for a very long time. Then, Vuong came along with his Burnings and Night Sky with Exit Wounds, and changed my entire perspective. Even his recent novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, is, let’s face it, poetry. He thinks like a poet, which is to say, roundly, fully, and deeply, about issues great and small; and he expresses those thoughts with the sensory skill, the musicality, the cutting precision, that is a poet’s unique ability. I’ve returned to poetry and prose in large part thanks to the feeling that he invokes in me as a reader; it’s been a reminder that the daily work is worth it, even if no one ever reads it.