What's the point of clearing a wider path to poetry? For me, the answer is essentially to do with poetry being primitive - a fundamental requirement of the human spirit. Think about how we first encounter it, in the corner of the playground, chanting. Taking a basic pleasure in like sounds. Relishing rhythm and rhyme. Enjoying the mystery and nonsense of words as well as their fixity and sense. We might grow up to learn sophisticated ways of elaborating those sounds, and a differently complicated language in which to appreciate and criticize. But if we do so in ways that ignore or suppress our primitive pleasures, we're denying something essential to poetry and essential to ourselves. In this respect, and remembering Keats's great remark that poetry had 'better not come at all' if it 'comes not as easily as leaves to a tree', I would say that poetry is as natural and necessary as breathing.
Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, writing in today's Guardian Review. (His tenure of the post comes to an end on 30 April this year.)
There's an excellent new poem by Andrew Motion also in today's Guardian - you can find it here.