There are very few poems I like. The fault in many cases is not the author's but mine as a reader. How does one learn to read poetry? How to analyze it? Critique it? Appreciate it? Is it a developed skill or an instinctual one?
The art of conveying so much with so few words is awe-insipiring. Of course, that feeling only occurs on those rare instances where a poem resonates deep within me. Most of the time I'm simply baffled by the meaning, the hidden agenda buried deep beneath the surface. Am I trying to search out what's not there? Or am I blind to references others would find obvious?
I know very few poets. I tend to migrate toward other novel or short-story writers. These people speak to me on a level I can not only admire, but one I understand. While we may see things differently, I'm confident in my instincts. I know what good prose sounds and feels like, how it flows and ebbs. I can discuss point-of-view, themes, dialogue, monologues, plotlines, motivation, and a number of other writerly topics with some level of confidence.
Change the subject to poetry and I'm done talking. I'll listen but rarely do I comprehend. I have no insights to offer. My incompetence is vast and glaring when poetry is introduced.
Even when I recognize something compelling in a poem, I couldn't begin to tell you why it works. I don't understand the rules, of which there seems to be many. I've heard of them, been forced to study them, but I don't instinctively recognize errors more proficent readers would identify.
Now, this being said, I do read poetry on rare occassions. For my Latina writers class I have read several poems already. I also try to read my friend's poetry; I don't always have a comment but occassionally one will strike me as outstanding and I'll let them know. Today was such a day. I think this is one of the best poems I've seen Crystal write and I hope she's not offended if I point you in her direction.
Lily by Crystal (she's my babysitter! And already has a poem published in an anthology(?) I believe.)
Once again, well done, Crystal! I don't know why it works but it does.