— Muriel Rukeyser poet and political activist 1913 - 1980
Origine: The Life of Poetry (1949), p. 169; part of this statement is also used in the "Introduction"
Contesto: In time of the crises of the spirit, we are aware of all of need, our need for each other and our need for ourselves. We call up our fullness; we turn, and act. We begin to be aware of correspondences, of the acknowledgement in us of necessity, and of the lands.
And poetry, among all this — where is there a place for poetry?
If poetry as it comes to us through action were all we had, it would be very much. For the dense and crucial moments, spoken under the stress of realization, full-bodied and compelling in their imagery, arrive with music, with our many kinds of theatre, and in the great prose. If we had these only, we would be open to the same influences, however diluted and applied. For these ways in which poetry reaches past the barriers set up by our culture, reaching toward those who refuse it in essential presence, are various, many-meaning, and certainly — in this period — more acceptable. They stand in the same relation to poetry as applied science to pure science.