I wrote my first poem at around 11 or 12 and threw it in the trash. I was too tough for poetry then, and it wasn't until three years later that began to write again. I couldn't stop. I still can't. I am a writer as Rilke defines it: one who is compelled to write. My writing comes from the hard places; the difficult, seemingly impossible things...
Writers who have and continue to influence me are (in no particular order): King, Poe, Anis Mojgani, Whitman, Yeats, Thoreau, Snyder, Ginsberg, Olson, Taylor Mali, Stacy Chin, Alexandra Fuller, Tim O'brien, and John Krakauer. That's the short list... there are more.