“War is an uprooting experience—that’s at the very least what it is. It sends you to other places, puts you in other clothes, gives you another name and a serial number. And it also fills your head with doubts as to what the world will become, an accelerated sense of change. And then, of course, if you’re in a line-company it fills your ears with ‘Bang! Bang!’ and your heart with fear. And there’s all of this to be allayed as best one can. There are letters from home, or you can drink: There are all kinds of ways to forget how frightened and disoriented you are. But I think one of the best is to take pencil and paper—which is all you need, thank heavens, to be a poet and which makes it possible to practice poetry in a foxhole—and organize, not the whole of it, because of course you cannot put the world in order, but make some little pattern—make an experience. That is to say, jell things into an experience that will be a poem.
—Richard Wilbur, The Art of Poetry No. 22