Death is what conceptual language represents negatively, like a hole, a void, but poetic speech can invert this, make it positive. […] Since thanks to poetry the world is closer, and its unity more perceptible, we feel more part of that unity – like the leaf of a tree, even if it falls off the branch, in an instant that is eternal. So what is death? But I have to add that all this is true only in theory. Poetry would be just that – transcending death – if it were not inaccessible; we can only try to approach it. That is why one should not call oneself a poet. It would be pretentious. It would mean that one has resolved the problems poetry presents. Poet is a word one can use when speaking of others, if one admires them sufficiently. If someone asks me what I do, I say I’m a critic, or a historian.
— Yves Bonnefoy (via here)