I think

the poet who didn’t feel the pressure

at a politically difficult time

would be either

stupid or

insensitive. …

Debate doesn’t really change things.

It gets you bogged in deeper.

If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle,

then there is some hope.

People are suddenly gazing

at something else and


for a moment.

And for the duration of that gaze and pause,

they are like


of the totality

of their own knowledge

and/or ignorance.

That’s something poetry can do for you,

it can

entrance you

for a moment

above the pool

of your own consciousness and

your own


(Seamus Heaney in an interview in The Paris Review)