We asked some of the major American poets--winners of the biggest national awards, huge presences all, who they thought was the single most important contemporary poet, and what they thought was her/his influence on their own work and on the work of other contemporary poets. The answers delighted and sometimes surprised us, and we thank these poets for their participation in the lively discussion. The question of influence is a tricky one in the literary realm, but surely, if there are undeniable progenitors of today's collective poetry output, these are the ones.
best contemp poet
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