There’s an excellent interview with Eduardo C. Corral up at Barn Owl Review. His advice for aspiring poets really struck me:
Obsess over the dead. Not living writers. Read everything you can. Let it all seep in. Pay attention to the language around you.
The same week I read this interview, I came upon a video of Mary Ruefle giving 28 short lectures at the Woodberry Poetry Room in which she reads “Short Lecture on the Dead” and details how we learn the most from deceased poets. Her whole lecture is riveting, and I encourage you to watch it in its entirety, but if you want to hear the short lecture I mention above, forward to 8:04 in the video.
…the minute they are dead, all of their poems about death become poems about being alive–and we are alive, and can be taught something about that.
Rave on, poets.