Robert van Vliet is a poet, designer, and teacher who lives in Minneapolis. His poems have appeared in The Sixth Chamber Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Eunoia Review, Otoliths, and elsewhere. He eavesdrops on Twitter here, and his blog is here.
Photo credit: Ana Morel
What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?
Is every poem trying to accomplish the same thing as every other poem? Is each poem trying to accomplish only one thing, or several things at once? Are all artforms trying, each in their own way, to accomplish the same thing, or are they trying to accomplish different things, and therefore manifest themselves in different ways? Is art even trying to accomplish anything in the first place? If I intend a poem to accomplish one thing but it doesn’t, and instead it accomplishes something else entirely — something I couldn’t have predicted — is it still a successful poem? What if a reader expects my poem to accomplish something, but I expect it to accomplish something else? If I write a poem which I hope will accomplish absolutely nothing whatsoever, and I succeed, is it still a poem? And what if I fail, and it accomplishes something anyway?