But I would like to go a little further still, and honor the possibility that the stories that poems come out of are valuable in themselves, so far as they are known. Those who are living and writing at a given time are not isolated poetry dispensers more or less equivalent to soft-drink machines, awaiting the small change of critical approval. We are, figuratively at least, members of a community, joined together by our stories. We are inevitably collaborators. We are never in any simple sense the authors of our own work. The body of work we make for ourselves in our time is only remotely a matter of literary history. The work we make is the work we are living by, and not in the hope of making literary history, but in the hope of using, correcting so far as we are able, and passing on the art of human life, of human flourishing, which includes the arts of reading and writing poetry.
— Wendell Berry. "Sweetness Preserved," Imagination in Place