I started writing for aesthetic reasons. There was an innate part of me that appreciated the style and craftsmanship of well-constructed language, which emerged like a bas-relief from the old, black and white movies I watched growing up. To me there was nothing more satisfying then the moment when someone says exactly what needs to be said in the way it should be said. I lived to hear Bette Davis construct verbal tour de forces or knock them down, and as I got older I began to realize that I was the sort of person who had favorite lines in lieu of favorite characters. When I started writing seriously, my poems were usually just documents of lines and details that I cut and paired down until I had something that vaguely made sense. As far as the social aspects of my writing, I always wanted to write about being gay and the larger societal challenges that we umbrella under “queer issues,” but it took me years to feel like I had the words to do that. The poet who inspired me to begin trying was Natasha Trethewey, one of Obama’s Poet Laureates. I was always someone who liked using visual art and history as foundations for my work, but Trethewey took one step further to write ekphrastic narrative poems that connected her personal experiences to the experiences and history of her community. I was enraptured, and I spent years trying to figure out how I http://101meds.com/ could go about applying her way of combining art, and poetry, and history, and activism, into my own writing. As far as recommendations, I will always swear by Margaret Atwood. Morning in Burned House is one of my favorite collections, especially for anyone looking to write more narrative performance poems. Natalie Diaz is also phenomenal, her collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, is one of my all time favorites, and, of course, Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocqs’ Ophelia is an absolute must.