Do you read The Paris Review Interviews? Beautiful bits of writerly wisdom and insight. A recent link in my Twitter feed pointed me to the 1986 interview of W.S. Merwin, one of the first poets I read in my second stint of university, a time when I was feeling so very connected to the art of words. Of the many ways to understand and define poetry, this is one of my favorites.
“[…] I think of poetry as an attempt to use language as completely as possible. And if you want to do that, obviously you’re not concerned with language as decoration, or language as amusement, although you certainly want language to be pleasurable. Pleasure is part of the completeness. I think of poetry as having to do with the completeness of life, and the completeness of relation with one’s experience, completing one’s experience, articulating it, making sense of it.”
from: Poetry Foundation