Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who Inspires You?

I'm meeting with 4 writer friends on Friday night and one of our topics is who inspires us as writers. When asked this question, I was surprised that the first two people who came to my mind were painters, not writers-- Frida Kahlo & Georgia O'Keeffe.

I had to stop and actually think what writers/poets inspire me most. Two of my favorite poets were Denise Levertov & Jane Kenyon. I'd put them near the top of my list. Also I'm inspired by Richard Hugo, William Stafford, and William Carlos Williams. Pablo Neruda is always near the top of any list I write.

Currently in the living world, the following people have inspired me recently, Naomi Shihab Nye, Spike Lee, and Barack Obama.

I am trying to choose just one person. So, tell me, who inspires you?


  1. I don't usually use the word "inspire," but, in the sense you're using it here -- people who move me in directions that feel important to me:

    Among poets who have been essential to me, the two I always name first are Thomas McGrath and Sharon Doubiago.

    Also Lorca, Kenneth Rexroth (his own poems, also his translations and essays), Tomas Transtromer, Yosano Akiko, Etheridge Knight, Joy Harjo, Sappho, Robert Bly (his poems, translations, essays -- for a long time Bly was the only literary critic I could stand to read), Miroslav Holub, Tu Fu (or Du Fu), Nancy Morejon, Mahmoud Darwish, Adrienne Rich, Anya Achtenberg, Audre Lorde, Olga Broumas, Paul Eluard, Otto Rene Castillo, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Pablo Neruda, Carl Sandburg, Margaret Atwood, Muriel Rukeyser.

    A few poets, perhaps less widely known, who are also on my list, are Sheryl Noethe, Dale Jacobson, Roy McBride, Jenne Andrews, Mira Shimabukuro, Gerrye Payne, Robert Edwards, Ruben Medina, Anuradha Mahapatra.

    Among miscellaneous other people: John Steinbeck, Meridel LeSueur (amazing fiction writer), Richard Wright; artists Kathe Kollwitz, Goya, Van Gogh, David Alfaro Siqueiros (my favorite of the Mexican mural painters), Jay DeFeo; photographers Aleksandr Rodchenko, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Lee Miller; Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Beethoven, Chopin, Stravinsky, Mikis Theodorakis; John Berger (British left-wing art critic); Nor Hall (writer and Jungian analyst).

    Sorry if this list got a little overly long. You were right, it's hard to choose just one...

  2. hi kelli -

    i think my list keeps changing, but there are some people who will always be on it, like neruda, szymborska, ungaretti, leonard cohen, tori amos, kandinsky, miró, klimt, schiele, my dad (his collages).

    at the moment, i'd add john siddique, louise glück, nathan mcclain, ros barber, marie howe, arlene ang; thea gilmore, tom waits, the walkabouts.



Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.

Related Posts with Thumbnails