I thought once that poems were like words inscribed in rock or caught in amber. I thought in these terms so long, so fervently, with such investment in images of preservation and fixity, that the inaccuracies of the metaphor as description of my own experience did not occur to me until very recently. What is left out of these images is the idea of contact, and contact, of the most intimate sort, is what poetry can accomplish. Poems do not endure as objects but as presences. When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit.
I read poems to hear that voice. And I write to speak to those I have heard.
–Louise Glück, Proofs and Theories
Oooh, I like that a lot. Mind you, I tend to like a lot of what Loüise Gluck has to say…
I highly recommend Proofs and Theories. The essays are poetic, observant, and interesting.