I’m not a political poet, in the sense that let’s say Amiri Baraka or Adrienne Rich are, or Allen Ginsberg was. Their poetry is instrumentalist by design; it’s meant to incite direct action. I suppose I’m in the polis and in relation to the polis in a different, if often sympathetic, way. And that illustrates the necessary range of voices, as Wallace Stevens said, between inside and outside, between a poetry that incites to action and a poetry that incites to reflection. But that puts it far too simplistically, since reflection is necessary to responsible intervention. We’re speaking of active reflection, naturally, a form of unmasking, of bringing to light, beyond the means readily at hand, beyond habits of speech and thought.
[from The Recovery of Language: Michael Palmer in Conversation]