T.S. Elliot in his essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent"
“In Eliot’s essay, he uses the analogy of a chemical reaction to symbolize the poet’s mind. There are two gasses in the chamber. When you insert a filament of platinum they combine, and become a new chemical that can only be produced with these three components. But the platinum itself is unchanged, and there is no trace of platinum in the new product. I think that’s the thing with art – the idea that your life becomes a catalyst, a part of the whole reaction that becomes the poem, but it’s not the same thing. It’s the poem being its own event, its own chemical reaction. That said, I could never have written a poem without my life.”
On Watching Little Birds, the Documentary on the Iraq War