Just because someone has written a wonderful book about the meaning of poetry does not mean that you have to stop thinking about or looking for the meaning for yourself. Just because someone has earned a learned degree or written another bestselling book or won another prestigious award for their kind of poetry does not mean that they can speak for you. Just because you like someone’s poetry doesn’t mean you owe them anything. It’s more than okay to disagree with anyone’s thoughts about the true nature of poetry—even those who have been judged masters—because real, true poetry is not something that is dead and gone, but something with the very real possibility of being right here right now at all times and in all places. Everyone has the inalienable right to make their own poetry out of their own heads. It is not just for the academically rich and never was. That’s just a damned lie dreamed up by some nasty people a long time ago to control the world. All these people with their many hard and fast rules for poetry are just trying to fix the game and own it and keep it away from those they despise for being different. Poetry rules are usually for those with cruel and petty minds. No house rules are for those with pretty enough minds who just might express themselves in surprising and interesting ways if given half the chance. So first of all poetry has to be set free by the poets in all of us. Otherwise it isn’t poetry at all, but just some new monstrous gilded imitation hanging on a brightly painted wall.
Finally poetry is like love, you can’t contain it, but if you are lucky you can only try to find a graceful way to be in its presence without making a complete and utter fool of yourself. And like love, it won’t be smothered or it will simply disappear from view like it never happened and become something else, something less desirable and more sinister. It’s a direct question of striking the right balance between self-expression and art. Poetry shines a proper light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be misused by the enemy to blind or redirect an incoming good energy, so that brings me to my last point. Poetry is a responsibility. It’s not for the faint of heart. It asks a lot, even of those it need not. It wants your full attention, your full devotion, but it promises you nothing in return but the sensation of the moment. You must take it on faith—faith that someone else out there can or will relate to its form and function, faith that you are doing the job of outlining it in your own words quite well, faith that you are not boring the shit out of the very leaves on the very trees, faith that you can get the body on the slab to get up and walk, maybe even to dance.