Influences

For the most part, my influences are poets whose work seems like something attainable. I like to read a poem and think, “Hey, I can do that.”

I studied for a semester at South Dakota State University under the poet David Allan Evans, who later became South Dakota’s poet laureate. His poetry has been an inspiration to me because it is so straightforward, no pretense. His hospitable style motivated me because I knew I could write poems like his.

I’m also a longtime fan of Robert Bly (from whom this blog gets its name), Walt Whitman, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, James Wright, Li Young Lee and Naomi Shihab Nye.

More recently, I’ve discovered the poetry of Brian Turner and Craig Arnold. Turner writes about his time as a soldier in Iraq, and Arnold’s rhymes and meters are so sly you hardly know they’re there.

I saw Arnold read at the South Dakota Festival of the Book in 2002 ( I think). At first, his performance made me want to quit writing, because his poems were rich and engaging in a way I knew I couldn’t approach.

Of course, I didn’t quit. But I did refocus on what I wanted my poems to become.

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~ by ericedits on October 5, 2007.

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