Marianne Moore
Poetry (1921)


    I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.


        Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in


        It after all, a place for the genuine.


            Hands that can grasp, eyes


            that can dilate, hair that can rise


                if it must, these things are important not because a




    high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are


        useful. When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible,


        the same thing may be said for all of us, that we


          do not admire what


          we cannot understand: the bat,


              holding on upside down or in quest of something to




  eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under


      a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base-


      ball fan, the statistician --


          nor is it valid


              to discriminate against "business documents and




  school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction


      however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry,


      nor till the poets among us can be


          "literalists of         


          the imagination" -- above


              insolence and triviality and can present




  for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them," shall we have


      it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,


      the raw material of poetry in


          all its rawness and


          that which is on the other hand


              genuine, you are interested in poetry.

1. fiddle: nonsense.

23. insolence: rudeness or disrespect.