It’s always a question I dread getting asked in Q&A sessions or interviews. Where to start? Should I be speaking out for contemporary poets – the peers I most admire (such as Jen Hadfield or Alice Oswald) or think are most unfairly neglected (Mark Waldron or Tim Turnbull)? Should I mention my biggest influences – Plath, Sexton, O’Hara, Yeats, Ovid? But what about Keats, Coleridge, Browning, Dickinson, Hopkins, St Vincent Millay, Eliot, Pound, Auden, Ginsberg, Hughes, Jozsef, Akhmatova, Cavafy and Seidel? And do Homer and Shakespeare go without saying?
One answer I usually manage to blurt, anyway, is John Donne, whose poetry I fell in love with as a teenager, so it was lovely to be asked to write something about one of his poems – ‘The Good Morrow’ – for the Writer’s Hub’s ‘Poets reading Poets’ series. The mini-essay is now up here.