Despite what you may have seen on The Voice, or early rounds of American Idol, singing is an art. That means singers are artists. For his part, Stevens wanted us to make this association in "The Idea of Order at Key West." At its heart, this poem is really about art's perception-altering powers, the way art can change the audience's perception of reality for a moment, or forever. Consider: would you feel the same way about a sunset if there wasn't thousands of years of art and literature helping us to think about that sunset? Probably not. You can run, but you can't hide. Art can be pretty sneaky!
No escape? Oh, really? Despite what the poem suggests, the perception-altering power of art is not inescapable. The audience has to be open to the experience to be affected by the art.
No, really. There's no escape. Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, whether you seek it out or try to avoid it, the poem shows how art plays a part in how you see yourself and the world around you.