Someone hipped me to a Facebook post asking who the female poets were whose work had an impact on your life, even changed it. Something like that. The first thing that struck me was how many of the poets people mentioned I had known or still do.
Even though I still have trouble with lists and have to use Google and other Internet sources to do them since the brain op, I laid in bed last night thinking about it and actually came up with the three poets that did have an impact on my life as well as influencing my poetry, or at least the way I thought about it. Here they are.
Emily Dickinson, all her poetry since I first encountered it as a boy
Muriel Rukeyser, the New Directions paperback version of her 1951 Selected Poems that I discovered as a young man
Diane Di Prima, the first book of hers I read, when it came out from Corinth in 1961: Dinners and Nightmares...I got fired from my job as a disc jockey when I was nineteen for reading one of her "Nightmares" over the air: "Nightmare 6 Get you cut throat off my knife"