Thursday, November 25, 2010

Influential Writers Meme

On Facebook this meme is going around, and since I've never done one, I provide you with exhibit W--15 writers who have influenced me, or who I will never be able to get out of my head (for good reasons). In no particular order:

1) Henry D. Thoreau (nf) -- Walden
2) Rainer Maria Rilke (p) -- Lots of poems
3) Tim O'Brien (f) -- In the Lake of the Woods; The Things They Carried
4) James Wright (p) -- The Branch Will Not Break
5) W.S. Merwin (p) -- Travels; The River Sound
6) Walt Whitman (p, nf) -- Lots of poems
7) Louise Gluck (p) -- The Wild Iris
8) Robert Frost (p) -- Lots of poems
9) Linda Hogan (nf) -- Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World
10) Scott Russell Sanders (nf) -- Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World
11) Bill McKibben (nf) -- The End of Nature
12) Terry Tempest Williams (nf) -- Refuge: An Unnatural Hitsory of Family and Place
13) Michael Pollan (nf) -- Second Nature
14) N. Scott Momaday (nf) -- The Man Made of Words
15) Loren Eiseley (nf) -- The Star Thrower; and others

Boy, that was fast. I could've kept going for another 15 or 150. In truth, there are many books that linger with me or that were key to one period or another in my life. Perhaps the above are the obvious choices, some are more recent, some might seem cliched. I tried to be diverse yet not sensor msyelf, and include authors who have 2+ books I consider a big deal. There ya go. Feel free to meme yourself and post a link in my comments section.

Yesterday I got another fantastically-positive rejection from an agent for my memoir Morning Glory. I've had many this year--on the book, on essays from the book, and several near misses on my full-length poetry collection Afterimage (which was recently one of 4 finalists for a book prize). It's been a fuzz hard staying motivated to keep sending out work, because sending out work takes a good deal of time and thought; I'm not the kind of person who submits williy nilly, or who doesn't spend too much time being emotionally involved in pretty much anything, hence exhaustion. Anywho, I'm a whiner. Today is turkey, fresh bread, and chocolate cake, perhaps some James Bond. And maybe stuffing a few envelopes, too (but not with bread and seasonings, although...). Did I mention it's 15 degrees with a 0 wind chill?


Esther Montgomery said...

I feel foolish. I hardly know any of the writers on your list. We would have Robert Frost in common though.

Don't give up. (Not that you will.)


Benjamin Vogt said...

Esther--I figure if you made a list, I wouldn't know many of yours either. So many writers, so many books, how does anyone (writer or reader) ever connect, ever find their way? I used to hate Robert Frost, particularly in college. Ah, to be young and dumb.

Craig @ Ellis Hollow said...

Being not so literary, I'd have a hard time naming 15 -- though if I tried we'd have a handful in common. Guess I'd have to add John McPhee and Wendell Berry. And maybe Tom Robbins and Douglas Adams, which shows you how low-brow I am.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Craig--Low brow is a relief, an elixir at times.. I've tried to like John McPhee, but just can't do it. Wendell Berry I can.

Carol said...

Fantastic list! I share your love of most of these and would have to add Emerson and Goethe etc. . . . oh gosh maybe I should just make my own. I did not recall or maybe never knew Wright . . . I love this line from 'Blessing' "That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom." Somehow I think I have read it before . . . how would one ever forget though. Positive rejections . . . they bite as hard. I would like to buy a book of yours. Can I buy if from you . . . I could send a check?

Benjamin Vogt said...

Carol--James Wright is perhaps my favoite poet of all time. So many poems like "Blessing" in The Branch Will Not Break. And I'd love for you to have a copy of my tiny little book. Here's a link: I'm toward the bottom.

Susan Tomlinson said...

A stellar list.

Susan Tomlinson said...

P.S. The semester is nearly over and I am practically giddy from the knowledge.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Susan--I checked ou from the semester over turkey break. Man. It feels especially long yet short this year. And once again, I put too much emotional energy into my classes and not enough into my own work.

Indoor Fountains said...

One of my favorites:

Sylvia Plath-Daddy

So powerful that it paralyzes first time readers.

Chloe m said...

Michael Pollan is one of my faves too. Hope he writes more soon.