What poets changed the way you thought about writing?
Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’ imparted a love of being alive, sense of ecstatic prayer, self-love, and equanimity, “the soul is not more than the body,” early on. Then Joy Harjo, who I first heard through a recorded version of her poem, “She had some horses.” The rhythm and refrains paired with intuitive images and voice of witness was mesmerizing; her style felt similar to some of my favorite Kim Gordon songs or Allen Ginsberg’s spoken word. Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek has also been important to me for its poetic acknowledgement of the divine in nature and animals. Trying to listen more to mountains, forests, streams, and friends has impacted my thinking as well—I gain so much from my teachers and kin and hope I can use poetry and art as a gift back to them in some way. Also, I was previously familiar with Federico García Lorca’s plays, but am just now reading his Collected Poems and finding the timeless symbols, visionary beauty, and universal truths in his poems mind blowing. He’s reminding me it’s alright to have recurring themes. For example, Lorca refers to poplar trees in dozens of poems, but it never seems redundant. It feels realistic and celebratory.