Poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson have appealed to me for the metaphysical nature of their work, their innovative use of language and spirit of independence. I admire in Sylvia Plath’s poetry what has been called her “control of intolerable pain.”
Theodore Roethke’s grandfather was a Prussian, as was my maternal grandfather. I was born in the home of my grandparents in East Prussia, and when I met the poet Kenneth Rexroth in the 1970s, he said that my poetry was very “Prussian.” At the time, I didn’t get what he meant by that. However, when I review Roethke’s work, I am still drawn, as I was from the first, by his wry approach to nature as a great clarifying force.
Discovering the mystical poets such as Kabir and Rumi was very exciting for me. They both have the quality of being refreshingly irreverent and, at the same time, intensely spiritual. I find that these mystical poets’ ability to describe the strange and awesome world of ecstasy to be a continuing source of inspirations.