You start with imitation because you don't know how to do this [produce a poem]. These poets are doing astonishing things. So you find the ones you love — there's absolutely nothing wrong with writing pieces that are purely Ted Hughes or Seamus Heaney or Rilke — and you just keep writing your way into your own voice. Eventually, you realize that you're not writing Rilke or Heaney anymore, that there's another voice there which you, in Mary Oliver's words, 'slowly recognize as your own.'
That's actually a well recognized way of discovering your own voice — of imitating others until you get tired of imitating others.
A lot of the poetic discipline boils down to getting tired of yourself, and I really believe that. When you get tired of yourself, then you change.
See, even if you're stuck in life, if you can describe just exactly the way you're stuck, then you will immediately recognize that you can't go that way anymore. So just saying precisely, writing precisely, how you're stuck, or how you're alienated, opens up a door of freedom for you.