«If a poet is really good he can give you a moment of reconcilement to the tragic nature of things. Poetry, as with all the arts, enables us to reexperience. Most of us pass through life in a state of semi-anesthesia, with life itself blotted out by the business of living. We shut out life itself in order to carry on and survive, and the function of the arts is to pierce that shield and make us suddenly reexperience something that we’ve always known but haven’t been experiencing anymore. Shelley said it when he described poetry as stripping the veil of familiarity from things. It can only be done obliquely or by implication. A certain musical phrase, or combination of sounds by Beethoven, will arouse feelings of intense sadness which would not have been aroused if Beethoven had just put his head down and cried.»
Poet og redaktør John Hall Wheelock til The Paris Review.