At almost every literary event I’ve attended, writers are asked about their influences. This might get tiresome to them but it sometimes yields interesting results. At a panel (Friday? I think it was Friday), Billy Collins led a conversation with Kevin Young and Meghan O’Rourke. This was the occasion of Young’s now-famous iPhone reading.
The three poets started talking about influences on their work. The greats were mentioned: Wordsworth, Dickinson, Hughes, Ashbery. Then Billy pointed out that influences can also be “extraliterary”: “Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies cartoons were as influential on my imagination as any poetry I read.”