From a post at Amanda Auchter's blog: "New England College's application calls for a list of the 'ten most influential poetry books you have read in relation to your creative work as a writer'" (her list follows).
Interesting how this list can differ entirely from a list of the ten books one most admires or loves. Strange beast, influence: often a poet's stated influences can't even be guessed at by a reading of her work. A book might influence me not in terms of approach, voice, line breaks, typography, etc., but simply by showing me what is possible...I guess most books I'd consider influences have done that more than anything else: freed me from some inhibition (by which I really, really, don't mean inhibition about subject matter). So here, in no weighted order, are mine (today). Not all are even personal favorites; some are ones I owned at one point and sold or gave away.
1. 77 Dream Songs, John Berryman
2. Harmonium, Wallace Stevens
3. Articulation of Sound Forms in Time, Susan Howe
4. something by James Tate (I'm thinking of certain poems from his selected; I don't know which single volumes they originally appeared in)
5. The Clerk's Tale, Spencer Reece
6. Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein
7. For Love, Robert Creeley
8. Crash's Law, Karen Volkman
9. perhaps this is a rescue fantasy, Heather Fuller
10. Pause Button, Kevin Davies