Lawrence Durrell was a superb poet and I found his definition of poetry intriguing.  While I’m not sure it always applies, it reminds me of Ezra Pound’s definition of poets as the antennae of the race.  In Durrell’s definition, they can help us tune our daily lives and thoughts into the bigger impulses of the universe.

Writing poetry educates one into the nature of the game – which is humanity’s profoundest activity.  In their star-dances the savages try to unit their lives to those of the heavenly bodies – to mix their quotidian rhythms into those great currents which keep the wheel of the universe turning.  Poetry attempts to provide much the same sort of link between the muddled inner man with his temporal preoccupations and the uniform flow of the universe outside.  Of course everyone is conscious of these impulses; but poets are the only people who do not drive them off.


Source: Lawrence Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus (London: Faber & Faber, 1960), p. 48

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