Auden--not coincidentally, the poet who'd chosen her work for the Yale Younger Poets series in 1950--who told us that "the purpose of poetry is to disenchant and disintoxicate
." As Gilbert explains in her introduction, "research into reality--'the thing itself and not the myth'--was a major aim of [Rich's] work as a poet." That was true as well of her essays.
As a poet, Auden was sympathetic to Rougemont's suggestion that romantic lyrics and propaganda operate on the same psychological principles, although he also insisted that "Poetry is not magic," and that the effect of good poetry was not to enchant, but "to disenchant and disintoxicate
" (Dyer's Hand 27).
," he wrote in an essay, "Writing," which