"Poetry is the language of a state of crisis.
Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's remembrance of his first day in class with a professor who—if his stubborn presence in the work of several generations of students and now even the students of those students is any measure—must have been one of the great teachers of the past century, runs as follows:
I will tell you something: I will tell you
What this course is about. Some-
time in the middle
Of the Eighteenth Century, along
with the rise
Of capitalism and scientific
method, the logical
Foundations of Western thought
decayed and fell apart.
When they fell apart, poets were left
With emotions and experiences,
and with no way
To examine them. At this time,
poets and men
Of genius began to go mad. Gray
went mad. Collins
Went mad. Kit Smart was mad.
William Blake surely Was a madman.
Coleridge was a