It’s a lie that poetry is only read by or “speaks to” people in the universities or elite intellectual circles; in many such places, poetry barely speaks at all.
Poems are written and absorbed, silently and aloud, in prisons, in prairie kitchens, urban basement workshops, branch libraries, battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, offices, a public hospital for disabled people, an HIV support group. A poet can be born in a house with empty bookshelves. Sooner or later, s/he will need books.
Adrienne Rich, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics, 1994.