We all live in a state of permanent partial attention: we check Facebook, eat breakfast, watch the TV and yell for somebody to feed the dog all at the same time. Poetry doesn't allow you to do that. Its quiet, still voice demands you listen to it slowly, alone.
And he proposes Clive James as Britain's next Poet Laureate, to succeed Andrew Motion :-
Poetry needs a great salesman, because in our whizzing speeding shoving lives, its moments of careful pause are more important, not less. Appropriately, the words of a poet – Emerson – made this point best:
"For most us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts."