Poetry is of the muses, by the muses, for the muses, who shall not perish from seeing what is to be heard, hearing what is to be seen, saying what is to remain silent, giving pause to what cannot be still. The poet is marked by the muses as Francis was by Christ. To define poetry is next to impossible, is to set limits on something that erases limits, that deforms boundaries, that destroys form itself as creation, that makes the petrified plastic.
Poetry makes finite in form what is eternal. Poetry is a manifestation of Holy Wisdom, the Divine Sophia. it is in essence of the Word which God could only make flesh through the womb of a woman. Poetry always says better what has always been said, at best says what cannot ever be said. The poet is in communion with the muses. Yes, as asserted above, the poet bears the marks of these Muses internally as Francis bears the Stimmate (Italian) of Christ. As Christ so loved the world, as God so loved the world, the poet loves creation. The poet like Jacob wrestles with his angels, transcendental messengers.
My desire to write poetry came to me as the desire for salvation, the desire for transcendence, the desire for absolution. I did not decide to be a poet as others in America decide to be artists because they can’t do anything else, or worse, they can’t do anything and therefore become an artist for the worst reason, they want to feel useful. I had to be a poet, so I must not answer why I chose to become one. In effect, there was no choice. I became a poet for the same reason I breathe. Recognition has never been a necessity; disrecognition never an impediment or discouragement. My best friends have been dead throughout the ages; I imagine, as Keats might have, that there is a holiness to the mind that thinks in poetry; yes, a holiness, something devotional to the word, to this form of expression inexpressible . . .
Oscar Wilde was correct in assuming that all art must be utterly useless, that there must be no utilitarian end to art. Utility and art are mutually exclusive; they are annihilating forces as are matter and anti-matter. I am not denigrating utility. I only express utility as utility and art as art; one is not the other and neither can be joined without serious consequences for each other. Neither nor is neither nor.
I can safely say that if there were any completely non-utilitarian life, then it has been mine.