Toni Morrison

She is my biggest writing influence from her mind blowing storytelling to lines that make you salivate. Sula is in my top 5 favorite books of all time; Morrison is the writer and person I strive to be.

Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut introduced me to the versatility of story structure, furthermore, showed me that story can be anything from a leaf falling off a tree to a full blown novel. His wittiness and satire somehow sneaks not only into my writing, but into my every day life.

Rhapsody in Plain Yellow by Marilyn Chin

This poetry collection remains close to my heart because it talks about the complexity of family and loss of loved ones. The collection is heartbreaking, yet beautifully written; the words are the symphony and Chin is the conductor.

Audre Lorde

“For Each of You” is my favorite poem of all time and Audre Lorde has influenced my poetry more than anyone else. Her writing instills a fire to shatter the status quo and keep fighting until everyone is truly equal and all voices are genuinely valued.

The August Sleepwalker by Bei Dao

Dao’s writing is heavily scattered with surreal scenes of nature that on the surface seem very superficial, yet upon digging deeper reveals the complexity of humanity. His work demands change and each poem, like with Lorde, makes you want to start an uprising.

Carson Sandell is a twenty-year-old gay and demisexual poet from San Jose, CA. Currently, he’s a student at Mission College Santa Clara with dreams of becoming a Creative Writing professor. Beyond school and poetry, he is an article writer for The Walled City Journal.

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