Poetry doesn't need me to defend it, but here are a few lines from Lenore Kandel that I think are appropriate for the beginning of this month:
Poetry is never compromise. It is the manifestation/translation of a vision, an illumination, an experience. If you compromise your vision you become a blind prophet.
Poetry is alive because it is a medium of vision and experience.
It is not necessarily comfortable.
It is not necessarily safe.
Poetry as poetry has no need to be classified in either of the above pigeon-holes nor in any other. It exists. It can no exist in the company of censorship.
When a society becomes afraid of its poets, it is afraid of itself. A society afraid of itself stands as another definition of hell.
Those who read modern poetry do so for pleasure, for insight, sometimes for counsel. The least they can expect is that the poet who shares his visions and experiences with them do so with no hypocrisy. To compromise poetry through fear is to atrophy the psyche. To compromise poetry through expediency is the soft, small murder of the soul.