A Timeline of Influences - the beginning, high school - 1999
A posted this photo earlier this week. It's a book shelf of works that are symbols of my poetic influences. From left to right, with some commentary:
Selected Poems - Walt Whitman - Dover - we would go to Newbury St's Trident Cafe and I'd buy Dover thrift editions as often as I could, starting in high school and throughout the summers and winter breaks of college. Song of Myself..."I sing the body electric" And there was excellent proof of something I already knew, that poems didn't have to rhyme to be good. (I'm still a little impressed with myself that I was the only one in my class who wrote a free verse poem for my 3rd grade anthology...)
"Easter 1916" and other poems - Yeats - Dover: another dollar book of poems. I was interested in Yeats because he was Irish.
The Road Not Taken and Other Poems - Frost - Dover: Frost seems a mainstay for students in New England. We sang "Stopping by the woods..." in chorus, as well.
Selected Poems - Dickinson - Dover: I'd say Emily's "I'm nobody who are you" had the same deep resonance as Tori's "Silent All the Years" and I think I came upon them around the same time of early high school, just when I needed them.
100 poems - e. e. cummings: I bought this at Tower Records on Newbury, right after I read "may i feel"
The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams: Vol 1, 1909-1939: because it had the wheelbarrow poem
Piece by Piece - Tori Amos: This is more of a symbol than a book that was an influence. It was her lyrics that influenced me greatly when I first wrote poems in college. Very pitiful girlie poems about love, angst, injustice, broken hearts, etc. Listen, Encyclopedia Brown will never win the Nobel Prize for literature, but without that series, I wouldn't have known how much I loved sitting and reading. Without my crappy knock offs of Tori Amos lyrics in the form of terrible high school and college poetry, I would have never known how much I love exploring my mind, the outside world, by writing poetry.
This covers my interests up to 1999. Things changed that year for a number of reasons, and I'll get into that in the next post in this series