The impulse to create and appreciate poetry is as basic to human experience as language itself. Although no one can point to the precise origins of poetry, it is one of the most ancient of the arts, because it has existed ever since human beings discovered pleasure in language. In fact, the necessity for poetry is one of the most fundamental traits of the human race.
We should read poetry because only in that way can we know man in all his moods—in the most beautiful thoughts of his heart, in his farthest reaches of imagination, in the tenderness of his love, in the nakedness and awe of his soul confronted with the terror and wonder of the Universe. Poetry and history are the textbooks to the heart of man, and poetry is at once the most intimate and the most enduring.