Don Share posted this on Squandermania but didn’t provide a link to the source. It’s from an extraordinary essay called “Shafts of Sunlight,” which Jeanette Winterson published in The Guardian:
[W]hen people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say how it is.
The full essay is available on her Web site here. Enjoy!