The Poet Knows Something They Didn't

Poetry is what gets lost in translation. - Robert Frost

Jessa Crispin at Bookslut links to an interview with poet and translator Jonathan Galassi, who points out that the significance of good art in general, and poetry in particular, does not lie in being accepted at the moment. The Economist blog, Prospero:

Poetry has a vital place in society, whether it's granted one or not. It exists; it is something people perversely do. Whether it gets formal acknowledgment or is provided an established role is really not the ultimate point. There’s a lot of energy and money spent on trying to make a place for poetry in society; I'm all for it, and I work on this myself in various ways. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the art. Poetry is anti-establishment by nature—except when it's not, of course, and then it tends to be of little interest. True poetry gets absorbed ex post facto, when people understand that the poet is seeing something, knows something, that they didn't. And that is the poet's ultimate reward: to change perception, to enter the language, to matter. There's nothing more mainstream than that. And it's something you can't buy, can't force. It just happens.

I just like the idea that some things are inaccessible to our matrixed and Google-optimized culture, that "the poet is seeing something, knows something" that can't be contextualized on the spot.