By listening to the language of his locality the poet begins to learn his craft. It is his function to lift, by use of his imagination and the language he hears, the material conditions and appearances of his environment to the sphere of the intelligence where they will have new currency. Thus anything that the poet can effectively lift from its dull bed by force of the imagination becomes his material. Anything. The commonplace, the tawdry, the sordid all have their poetic uses if the imagination can lighten them. This broadening of the choice in the materials of poetry has great modern significance; there is an older parallel to it in painting, where by dwelling upon light itself the artist has often drawn many otherwise unsightly objects into his works.
Emotion clusters about common things, the pathetic often stimulates
the imagination to new patterns—but the job of the poet is to use
language effectively, his own language, the only language which is to
him authentic. In my own work it has always sufficed that the object of
my attention be presented without further comment. This in general might
be termed the objective method. But all art is sensual and poetry
particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the
senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is
necessarily objective. It doesn’t declaim or explain; it presents.
But an image is not a poem, for that would leave the language and
the form of the poem at loose ends. A poem is a whole, an object in
itself, a "word" with a particular meaning old or new. The whole poem,
image and form, that is, constitutes a single meaning. This is the full
meaning of the term "objective" as I employ it.
and forms and their meanings alter. Thus new poems are necessary. Their
forms must be discovered in the spoken, the living language of their
day, or old forms, embodying exploded concepts, will tyrannize over the
imagination, depriving us of its greatest benefits. In the forms of new
poems will lie embedded the essences of future enlightenment.