“If Romeo and Juliet had made appointments to meet, in the moonlight-swept orchard, in all the peril and sweetness of conspiracy, and then more often than not failed to meet — one or the other lacking, or afraid, or busy elsewhere — there would have been no romance, no passion, none of the drama for which we remember and celebrate them.
Writing a poem is not so different — it is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.
That part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem — the heat of the star as opposed to the shape of the star, let us say — exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious. It learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be …”
A Poetry Handbook (1994)