Steve has two books and countless poems published, but I couldn’t choose between them. He is my favorite contemporary poet right now; his work never fails to transport and inspire me. He is one of those writers you read and wish you could write like he does. Steve goes into the center of the moments of life in a way that gives you pause and steals your breath.
Ariel – Sylvia Plath
A bit cliche I know, but without the work of Sylvia Plath, I am not sure I would have become a poet. Ariel was the first collection of hers that I read, and it changed my life. I learned from her writing just how powerful and impactful poetry can be, how the deeply personal can be woven and crafted into something beyond beautiful.
“Danse Russe” – William Carlos Williams”
It was my father who introduced me to the work of William Carlos Williams, with a copy of the poem”Danse Russe”; I have the exact copy he gave me pinned to the writing board above my desk. I love this poem. It was the first time I felt the power of loneliness come to life through poetry, the strength that can come from those moments when we can be anything or anyone. It is my favorite kind of poem, stripped back and real.
If it was Sylvia Plath who taught me the beauty of pain, it was Amy Tan who taught me the magic of writing. Her stories and novels take you into other times and places as if you have flown into the center of a dream. Even in the pain and sadness of her novels, there is a magical quality that breathes through her words. For me, her fiction is poetry.
“Ants on the Melon” – Virginia Hamilton Adair
Virginia Hamilton Adair taught me that it is never too late; never too late to start writing, to write again, to have your work published. I believe she was in her late 80’s when her first collection, “Ants on the Melon”, was published. The poems are snapshots of perfection, with no pretense or window dressing. She is a poet who shows what poetry can be when the complexities of simplicity are embraced, not allowed to be forgotten.
Susan Richardson lives and writes in Los Angeles. In addition to poetry, she writes a blog called, “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”. Her work has been published in Rust + Moth, Amaryllis, Riggwelter, The Writing Disorder, Dodging the Rain, Anti Heroin Chic, Mojave Heart Review, and Toasted Cheese, among others. She was awarded the Sheila – Na – Gig 2017 Winter Poetry Prize, featured in the Literary Juice Q&A Series, and her poem “Letches” was chosen as the Ink Sweat & Tears March 2018 Poem of the Month. Her poetry has also been nominated for Best of the Net. You can read more of her work on her website.