"The giant race of American poets between the two world wars agreed that the great, the permanent, subject of poetry is the ennobling transformation of common existence by the imagination. Their axiom was old enough, in a sense, for they believed also that wherever art rises beyond the motives of religion, politics and vanity, it accomplishes the great purpose."
- Irvin Ehrenpreis, in a review of Donald Justice & others, published anonymously in TLS # 3760 (March 30, 1974). Quoted in Certain Solitudes : on the poetry of Donald Justice (Univ. of AK Press, 1997).
(This seems to me like one of the best, most accurate formulations of "what it's all about" I've ever come across. Even though it reminds me that my own poetry, most of the time, is a murky obscure mixture of religion, politics & vanity - my own private Amazon jungle.)
p.s. Happy Birthday, Walt.