For me, poetry, more than any other form of literature has brought to the forefront a greater awareness of the dependence of language upon external factors. This underscores a dynamic of human communications that surprisingly make language subservient to both pictorial and emotional whims, and adds a layer of complexity that amazingly is evolutionary in nature.
Since poetry is generally regarded as the best words in the best order, such focus on word economy greater exposes each word to scrutiny, thus providing greater focus upon meaning. Individual words stand out far more in poetry than say fiction or essay or any other written communication endeavor.
It is amazing to me how the centenaries of language evolution must have progressed as man sought to find common quotients in expression. The transference from cryptic drawings to word sounds and the vastness of vocabulary expansion seems to me nothing short of phenomenal. There can be no mistaking this was an evolutionary process and it seems to me somewhat odd to think that even today this evolution is still in process right under our noses.
Is not the very articulation of metaphorical usage pushing the envelope of language? It seems to me the answer is yes, and in that context poets have a significant role to play in moving and shaking the language of our culture. The question I have, is which side of the curve are poets more often on? Are we ahead of the curve pulling language, or are we behind the curve pushing the cultural change of language as the read them in society today?