Wednesday, February 28, 2007

influences, a little list (or two)

OK, again no top tens from me, but Mark Young has tagged me for a list of poetry books that have influenced me.

I really have to divide it into phases, but I will only do two phases, however. First, the books I read, indeed, bought, when I was a teenager when I thought that I could write poetry. These are still books I have, and most of them are anthologies or selecteds. This is due pretty much to the limited literary landscape of a suburban kid during the Australian dark ages. I still consult the Montale.

The Poets World (Aust edition), ed by James Reeves - was actually a school text. The copy I have before me as I type is Annette's.

The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse, ed Bownas and Thwaite

The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse, ed Allott

Voices - the third book, edited by Geoffrey Summerfield

Collected Poems, T.S. Eliot

Selected Poems, Montale (Penguin Modern European Poets)

Then, there's a second round of books which influenced me from a later period when I got serious about poetry and the influences, some which can be traced right up till now.

The Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich

Power Politics, Margaret Atwood

Emily Dickinson (selected by Ted Hughes, would you believe)

The Colossus, Sylvia Plath

Selected Poems Transtromer (Penguin Modern European Poets)

Illuminations and A Season in Hell, Rimbaud, trans Louise Varese

Flowers of Evil, Baudelaire trans Richard Howard (and Parisian Prowler trans Edward Kaplan),

Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein

Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans Stephen Mitchell

The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry, ed Paul Auster

The Vision Tree - Selected Poems, Phyllis Webb

Damaged Glamour, John Forbes (and later Collected)

Mexico City Blues, Jack Kerouac

The Granite Pail, Lorine Neidecker

Collected Poems, George Oppen

There are many, many, many other books and poets I love or like, and some of the above I may not like, but they influenced me.

In tagging me, Mark listed other non-poetry books that influenced him. I'm not sure I have the energy to list all those that have influenced me, but they would include all this way-back stuff:

The Bible, various authors/editors - KJV and RSV versions
The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-winkle, Beatrice Potter
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne
Now We are Six, A.A. Milne
Labyrinths, Borges
The Castle of Crossed Destinies, Italo Calvino
Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy
Collected Stories, Katherine Mansfield
To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
Lord of the Rings, Tolkien
The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
Against Method, Paul Feyerabend
The Technological Society, Jacques Ellul
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paolo Friere
Social Amnesia, Russell Jacoby
Working, Studs Terkel
Silences, Tillie Olsen
Damned Whores and God's Police, Anne Summers
Drug Traffic, Alfred McCoy
Gyn/Ecology, Mary Daly
Understanding Media, Marshal McLuhan

The caveat of influence rather than love or like would also apply here but I do still have all of them, so far as I can determine. There are various sci-fi and fantasy books (loosely so-called) which ought to be listed here but I couldn't unearth them from my mind or shelves. And some childhood books which have escaped.

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