Poetry

I too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.

   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it one discovers that there

                   is in

   it after all, a place for the genuine.

      Hands that can grasp, eyes

     that can dilate, hair that can rise

         if it must, these things are important not because a

 

high sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are

   useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the

   same thing may be said for all of us — that we

      do not admire what

      we cannot understand. The bat,

         holding on upside down or in quest of something to

 

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under

   a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse that feels a flea,

                   the base-

   ball fan, the statistician — case after case

      could be cited did

      one wish it; nor is it valid

         to discriminate against “business documents and

 

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction

   however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not

                  poetry,

   nor till the autocrats among us can be

      “literalists of

      the imagination” — above

         insolence and triviality and can present

 

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have

   it. In the meantime, if you demand on one hand, in defiance of their opinion —

   the raw material of poetry in

      all its rawness and

      that which is on the other hand,

         genuine then you are interested in poetry.

Marianne Moore, “Poetry” from Poems (The Egoist Press, 1921)