In the tension between [ongoingness and conclusion] lies the resonance without which a poem is flat, static, which is to say, is not a poem. This resonance can be frustrating for the reader who wants experience to be translated; but poems tend instead to transform, not translate - they are indeed translations of felt and thought experience into verbal presentation, but their business, as it were, is to transform experience so that our assumption about a given experience can be disturbed and, accordingly, made more complicated, deeper, richer. This doesn't mean that we as readers necessarily will feel better. But the purpose of reading poetry is not, to my mind, to be made to feel better, but rather to understand human experience more entirely; this kind of understanding leads to wisdom, not the good feeling that is finally a shallow version of the happiness that wisdom strangely brings in its wake.
- Carl Phillips, from his essay "Little Gods of Making" in The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination (Graywolf, 2014).