My father, Ernest Silva, was a journalist until a few years after the war when he joined the CIA first as a translator and then as a latin american affairs specialist. In 1954, the year I was born, he was investigated as a suspected communist. According to the FBI the lie detector test proved inconclusive and he stayed on but received few promotions from that point until he took an early retirement in 1973.
My Father was not a communist but a Stevenson liberal the whole but was very poltical and so alot of the stuff I read when I was younger tended to be political as well. George Orwell for one thing...hot only 1984 but the pro socialist essays of his and Homage to Catalonia as well as Down and Out in Paris and London which was all wonderful nonfiction, and then I cracked open Burmese Days which was kind of an autobiographical novel but for some reason never finished it.
I always loved the arts without quite knowing why, especially the visual arts, was always encouraged to write poetry, but learned relatively soon that I could not be a painter or sculpter. But then, oddly enough, there was something else about me that made me different from the rest of my human company as I operated on half a brain until a kind of bizzare rude awakening occured to me at the age of 19 and I suddently became mentailly ill, and oddly part of this illness revealed to me from that point on the nature of "pathos" and that part of the human condition who yearning is driven by something more irrational but equally fundamental to people as economics.
Because I could not be a painter, I began writing poetry in earnest once I became mentally ill, and it was all of the modernest poets ( and of course Whitman) of the early part of the 20th century in particual TS Elliot but also Wallance Stephens and William Carlost Williams that have had the most profound influence on my work.
Other poets that influenced me strongly were the Bible, Dante's Divine Comedy, and numerous confessional poets whose craft was so exquisite from Lowell to Plath.