'If Poetry Makes Nothing Happen What Use Is It?'
George Szirtes on poetry in The Guardian.
Here are two propositions.
1. Poets are ordinary people with a special love and distrust of language.
2. Poetry is not a pretty way of saying something straight, but the straightest way of saying something complex.
It is in fact vital to love and distrust language. It is absolutely vital to tell truths that catch something of the complex polyphonic music of what happens. Someone has got to do it. It is poetry's unique task to say exactly what it means by singing it and dancing it, by carving some crystalline pattern on the thin, cold surface of language, thereby keeping language audible and usable. That is its straightness. That is its legislation.