Favorite author/poet of all time?
This one is hard, because while I have favorite books I don't often look at authors specifically. I had to really think about the authors of the books that I have loved and admire them for their writing styles and ability to tell an engaging story.
In recent years it has been Natsuo Kirino, a crime and mystery writer who ends up writing the most compelling mystery thrillers I have had the pleasure of reading. Her books have entranced me with not just the way they are written, but how she carefully weaves a story that is so profound and captivating. The books that I have read, the ones translated into English at least, Out, Real World, and Grotesque have such a beautiful narrative in the way of mysteries and suspense, of understanding the human condition, along with focusing on women characters and the lifestyle of contemporary Japanese culture. I have never been disappointed with anything she has written yet. I remember randomly picking up Out at a bookstore some years ago and being intrigued by the plot, and after reading it I wanted more of her work. Natsuo Kirino is also considered one of the leading figures of women writers in Japanese detective fiction, and has gotten criticism for writing in what some think is a "man's genre", which probably explains a lot of the feminist themes throughout all her works. She is someone who I recommend.
My second favorite author has to be V.C. Andrews. Like most, I started reading her books during junior high, and the ones that were actually written by her (and not the ghostwriter) were so beautifully done. She had a way of spinning a story that was so utterly captivating, from the way she described things and the perspective of the characters she was writing, I had a perfect image of the atmosphere and how the characters in the story were like. So it's a shame that the ghostwriter never fully recaptured that style after her death, at least with the later releases underneath her name. Some of the stuff released after her death still had that feel, but it gradually dissipated and I was no longer interested. Going back and reading her written work just allows me to disappear into this strange Gothic soap opera world she created.
And lastly, I have to say J.K. Rowling. Even with all the faults and flaws, especially lately, and not always agreeing with her on certain things, she did create this magical world and the Harry Potter series did contribute in helping me through such a dark time in my life, and for that I'll always be appreciative and thankful.