Sometimes I find that I am as interested in knowing about a poet as I am in reading and understanding the poet's work. What has amazed me over the years is that poets have no one way of working or of putting things together. Some poets begin by hearing a line in their head and following its music as they write down/record what they hear. Some poets "see" a line and then write other lines they try to fit together, like a puzzle. Some poets read poems, then find themselves reacting to the poems by writing their own.
There are three books of poems I listed as having a strong effect on me in one of the Facebook memes going around now: Tar, by C.K. Williams, The Last Hiding Places of Snow, by Galway Kinnell, and In a Heysn Vint (In a Warm Wind), by Celia Dropkin. There are many other poets whose work has affected me strongly. Anna Margolin comes to mind, as does Anne Sexton. Gerard Manley Hopkins certainly affected me a lot, as did Dylan Thomas. W.S. Merwin was yet another poem who affected me strongly.
As a young poet, I was afraid that I would sound like someone else, so I wrote rather strange and obstruse poems. It took a while for me to grow out of that.