With any hallucinations, if you can do functional brain imagery while they're going on, you will find that the parts of the brain usually involved in seeing or hearing - in perception - have become super active by themselves. And this is an autonomous activity; this does not happen with imagination.
As a direct line to human feeling, empathic experience, genuine language and detail, poetry is everything that headline news is not. It takes us inside situations, helps us imagine life from more than one perspective, honors imagery and metaphor - those great tools of thought - and deepens our confidence in a meaningful world.
I find in my poetry and prose the rhythms and imagery of the best - I mean, when I'm at my best - of the good Southern black preachers. The lyricism of the spirituals and the directness of gospel songs and the mystery of blues are in my music or in my poetry and prose, or I missed everything.
The most exciting moment as an archaeologist happened when I was looking at the great archaeology site of Tannis, which of course we all know from 'Indiana Jones.' We got satellite imagery of the city of Tannis, we processed it, and literally from thousands of miles away from my lab in Alabama, we were able to map the entire city.