It is a question I am often asked after a poetry reading. I usually offer a tongue-in-cheek reply, ‘Metallica, Blind Guardian, and Johnny Cash.’ The deer-in-headlights look I receive is ‘gold standard’ (as one writer puts it). I guess they expect something like ‘Whitman, Ginsberg, and Bukowski’ or some other literary trinity.
Specific books inspire me more than specific poets. During April, 32 Poems blog published poets who offer their list of five poetry books you need to read. I enjoyed reading what other poets offer as recommended poetry reading. But I often wondered if the five books chosen by the featured poets were more a literary bumper sticker proclaiming themselves serious poets or, like indie rock musicians, a list of obscure books that no one knows but should know how important they are.
So, I am not going to offer a list of five poetry books that inspire me. I’ll stick with my initial reply, ‘Metallica, Blind Guardian, and Johnny Cash.’