I'm trying to think what writers and thinkers and artists have been major influences, and one answer is obviously Bob Dylan. Other influential poets include Yeats, Eliot, Plath, Sexton and interestingly enough, Wallace Stevens. More contemporary figures include Stephen Dunn, Forrest Gander ("Eye Against Eye," John Ashbery, Joy Harjo, and people like Tony Hoagland, Dorianne Laaux and Lorna Dee Cervantes. This is not to say that I find everything written by these people my cup of tea, but I do feel they all have recently and in the past affected my language and stylistic choices.
I am still learning, and I'm recognizing the sheer loneliness of being a writer tonight. One is sometimes surrounded by friends and peers, yet one is ultimately dealing with an extensive amount of solitude, reflection and consternation, but there is also pleasure that comes with the territory. Some days one might even question the talent or capability one has. Some days one might even overestimate the talent or capability one has. The pendulum, for me, is often swinging back and forth, but the balance comes "outside" of writing and finding what really matters in life. That takes me outside of myself, and it helps me see what I'm doing more clearly. This kind of balance is new and healthy.
For some reason, Bob Dylan remains a central figure in my continual development as a "poet." I find his work compelling and always have found it so. Used to listen to Blood on the Tracks intently, among other albums. His language is always intense, sometimes soothing, sometimes reflective, angry, wild, soft, impatient, hardened, loving and hateful but always precise and cutting. This seems to me central for a writer or poet, to have a range of emotive and/or intellectual reach. I want piercing language, and I want to challenge myself to find a cadence, a rip, a rift, and a reason for the choices I make. I don't want to write something that is haphazard and not thought out carefully. Mostly I want something that matters to humanity. I strive to make sense of what is often nonsensical. Sometimes I relish in the playful harmony or disharmony of language. It is this unearthing of the unconscious that I find appealing. Often, I do not know that the unconscious is speaking. It makes a poem more layered and oftentimes results in a subtext which is beyond the writer's consciousness which is interesting.
I do not tend to focus on others sense of language, politics, urgency or sense of community. I try to focus on the poems, and although I have been a slow writer the last eight years, I'm finding a burst of creative language and poems are coming very quickly.
I do not want to command, cajole, demand or condemn other poets anymore. This has a lot to do with that balance.
A bit of humility is a good thing, but perhaps I've had too much of a sense of a false humility. It is difficult for me to say I am careful with my language as a writer, and I try not to rush poems. When they come they arrive often as surrender, prayer, dream and gift.
I am feeling that sense of isolation again, and it is perhaps a good thing for people to walk down that path.
Need to send out some questions to some Latina poets again, write two book reviews and continue to revise third collection, which is coming together.
Not sure why I blog when blogging is over. It helps me to think things through, to be true to myself and my writing. I think the poetry world is totally full of crap, and I feel I have a voice, and I do in the end have something relevant to say.