... you decide: Does Poetry Have a Social Function? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
What do I think? I think the question represents a category error. On New Year's Eve, one of our dinner guests, a beutiful Chinese woman, read several classical Chinese poems for us. This proved that Auden was right when he said that when you hear real poetry it doesn't matter if you know the language - you know it is poetry. Our friend also sang, with the voice of an angel, one of Li Bai's poems. It is this sort of experience of poetry that makes such a question as the one posed on this link seem so banal. The essence of poetry is enchantment, not utility.