Now is the time when poets are most needed, according to Canberra poet John Foulcher who recently won one of Australia's top prizes.
He believes that people are becoming increasingly polarised in their views, with one group thinking they have a monopoly on right thinking while their opponents get everything wrong. Both groups scorn the other.
"There's this incredible force to find yourself on one side or the other," he says.
He, for example, is a Christian but he says that this leads some people to assume that he must have right-wing views whereas he actually sees himself tending to the left.
Nuance and complexity are not values for our age - and poetry deals in nuance and complexity.
"In a world which desperately wants black and white answers, poetry, doesn't give them," he says.
"We live in a world which is reducing us to the superficial and it's an art which demands depth."
"Poetry takes the difficult path and questions you. I think it's hugely important at the moment."
He is wary of a tendency that's developing in society where people define themselves primarily by their gender or race or sexuality.
The next morning, I visit my parents at the crematorium, their small brass beds neatly tucked into the brick symmetry of the dead. Their names are all that's left, that and their love, spanning separate lives - his thirty-six years, her sixty-seven, those thirty-one eternities denied them. Rain swarms in the air, so I don't stay long. I touch the letters, each an era, the ring of a Californian redwood, and leave them to get on with being gone.From Revising Casuarinas by John Foulcher
He thinks Australia isn't in such a bad position as the UK or US. He describes President Trump as "vile".
But he still detects - and loathes - a tendency in Australia to turn on people who don't follow whatever absolutely rigid dogma is fashionable.
He says he "leans left" but doesn't dismiss the integrity and competence of many on the right.
"There are good men and women in both the Liberal and the Labor Parties," he said.
Mr Foulcher started writing poems as a boy but didn't show them to anyone. He says that he didn't think of himself as a poet until much later.
When he got to Macquarie University in his native Sydney, a poetry class was looking for one extra. He joined to make up the numbers and quickly discovered that he had a lot to learn.
At first he was outraged when his work was pulled apart but he came to realise that the criticism was accurate - he learnt from it. Poetry, he came to realise, wasn't just about the feeling and thought conveyed but about the craft of words - a skill he worked on.
Even now, several major prizes and more than 10 books of poetry later, he doesn't like being called a poet - he thinks of himself, rather, as a writer of poems.
"People think poets are 'deep' and special. Not me!" he says (which isn't true - he and his work are approachable but his poetry digs deep).
He came under the wing of the great poet, Les Murray, who died in April.
"He was an extraordinarily generous man. He would say, 'Just keep at it and you'll get there'."
And he has.
The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describes his work thus: "Simple, direct and convincing, Foulcher's poetry reflects common human experiences - joy in the present, regret for the errors and omissions of the past and faith, mixed with a dash of apprehension, for the future."
And now the Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry for Revising Casuarinas. The honour brings with it a more prosaic $10,000. By the way, the second prize went to another Canberra poet, Geoff Page.
Spirituality is a theme in his work, without it touching preachiness. Another theme is his father, who died of a heart attack not yet in his 40s and to whom the writer of poetry keeps returning.
John Foulcher spent his working life as a teacher and loved it, particularly at Burgmann Anglican School in Gungahlin.
"I loved being a teacher. It drained me but I loved it," he says.
Unlike many, he really likes people in their mid-teens because "they have all the excitement of childhood but the sophistication of adults".
At the age of 66, he is now retired - and a full time writer of poetry.
Some writers of poetry keep at it, defying writer's block by just making themselves write something until the inspiration returns.
John Foulcher is not one of them.
For him, the muse comes and goes. He likes Les Murray's picture of it as a wild horse. "It comes to your back door," says Mr Foulcher, "and it's very shy and then you can touch it and you think it's your friend and then it's gone - and that is what it's like for me.
"You think it'll never come back and then when you least expect it, almost randomly, you go out in the morning and there it is again."
He is religious but not dogmatic. He is an Anglican and married to an Anglican priest, Jane, who teaches theology at Charles Sturt University.
They plan to live in a church.
Eleven years ago, they bought a decommissioned building, built in the 1860s, near Braidwood.
"We are doing it up to live in," he says.
He feels there is a special resonance to a church.
"There's something special about the place. We feel like it's something bigger than us. We want to use it for music and poetry recitals."
But can you live in a church? All that worldly day-to-day activity in the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom - but in a once sacred space.
"We'll find out."