— Adrienne Rich
Context: Of course, like the consciousness behind it, behind any art, a poem can be deep or shallow, glib or visionary, prescient or stuck in an already lagging trendiness. What's pushing the grammar and syntax, the sounds, the images — is it the constriction of literalism, fundamentalism, professionalism — a stunted language? Or is it the great muscle of metaphor, drawing strength from resemblance in difference? Poetry has the capacity to remind us of something we are forbidden to see. A forgotten future: a still uncreated site whose moral architecture is founded not on ownership and dispossession, the subjection of women, outcast and tribe, but on the continuous redefining of freedom — that word now held under house arrest by the rhetoric of the "free" market. This on-going future, written-off over and over, is still within view. All over the world its paths are being rediscovered and reinvented.
There is always that in poetry which will not be grasped, which cannot be described, which survives our ardent attention, our critical theories, our late-night arguments. There is always (I am quoting the poet/translator Américo Ferrari|) "an unspeakable where, perhaps, the nucleus of the living relation between the poem and the world resides".
"Legislators of the world" in The Guardian (18 November 2006)