Josh responds to my late comments on his latest.
Stevens drew some of his material for Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction from a book by Charles Mauron called Aesthetics and Psychology (Leggett covers this in the book I mentioned earlier). I find his/their attitude on these matters pretty persuasive.
It's not that social forces, history, politics etc. must be kept out of poetry, or can be. It's that all these things are part of the world of action, and that the aesthetic impulse or feeling which inspires poetry emanates from another place, the world of contemplation : a pause in reality and its demands, a Sabbath-day in which we simply contemplate without striving to change or be changed. The originality and freedom of poetry, its synthetic power to evoke and present reality in a new light, depend ultimately on this capacity to see & feel & invent without a social demand of any kind; an originary, independent, early impulse. Aesthetic response, creative vision. & then the listener or reader sees & shares it with the artist.