My question is about poetry's relationship with the languages from which it is constructed.
Many words from the vocabularies of natural languages are onomatopoeic (where words sound like sounds they describe: 'bang!'; 'crack'; etc.) and some argue that other words 'sound' like the objects they describe. In one of his novels' insightful footnotes, Terry Pratchett proposed that
"There should be a word for words that sound like things would sound like if they made a noise, he thought. The word "glisten" does indeed gleam oilily, and if there ever was a word that sounded exactly the way sparks look as they creep across burned paper, or the way the lights of cities would creep across the world if the whole of human civilization was crammed into one night, then you couldn't do better than "coruscate"." (Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett, pg 207)
Whether or not these observations can be considered correct is the first part of my question. Although "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet", it seems possible that some words and names are more like the objects they describe than other, less suitable ones (though it is difficult to think about this from a perspective unbiased by one's own language).
If one does come to the conclusion that some words are better suited to the objects they describe than others in the manner implied by the Pratchett quotation, then the following interpretation of the poet's situation becomes viable. Poetry was once described as "the best words in the best order" (Coleridge), but if we accept the fact that some words are better suited than others to the objects they describe, and therefore that some words would be better if replaced, then those "best words" are in fact only the best by virtue of being established. The poet's body of raw material, language, which he or she draws from in the creative process, could be better suited to the task at hand, a statement which begs the question of whether it could and ought to be made better, and in what ways.
I find the possibilities implied by this fascinating. Will poets one day write in languages not merely better suited to the task at hand than others (e.g. using 'the language of love', French, when being romantic), but finely crafted and tuned to best express the author's sentiments? I have heard of experimental poetry by Christian Bök written in artificial languages, although he may have had different aims in mind. Should we attempt to be disposed towards the acceptance of new words in an attempt to improve or expand our own languages, and be tolerant of seemingly alien poetry and literature? The issues to do with a restricted languages effects on a culture have been explored in work such as George Orwell's 1984, and in 'A Clockwork Orange' Anthony Burgess used heavy slang to communicate a sense of the culture that gave rise to it, but how much investigation but has there been into the viability of the expansion and improvement of language, in the ways that I think might be possible?