Interviewer: So does art fail in its task when it is based upon too much classification?
Lee: Art is the consciousness of all things simultaneously. That’s what makes art so dense and so mind opening. It is the final and first religious activity. This is what we mean by art being apocalyptic. Apocalypse means revelation. Art reveals who we really are. We are not Time magazine, CNN, we are not Laverne and Shirley. We are not just that, I should say. We are the Jackson Pollock action painting, Van Gogh’s Iris, we are Moby Dick’s whole theater of ocean. Every time you write a poem it’s apocalyptic. You’re revealing who you really are to yourself.
From An interview with Li-Young Lee, the Missouri Review, spring 2000