What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?
I ask my students this very question. For me, poetry is an interactive art form—maybe the first—in the sense that it asks the reader to discover themselves in the poem. Poetry isn’t here to dictate but to invite, not to provide answers but ask questions. And because of its emphasis on compression there’s a clarity and precision to its proceedings, meaning that there’s no aspect of the poem that isn’t intentional and so its craft is a careful one—a poem means business from the first word to the last, punctuation included. There is no down time in the poem, no room for slack moments or filler, and I like to think of that intensity as a type of mindfulness, of absolute focus on transcribing the lived moment so that it can endure in ways that we can’t. And for me as a reader, a good poem is like a pause button in my life—it takes me out of the now by connecting me directly to language, returning me to my earliest state when the world was nothing but sound and in doing so provides the purest pleasures our language allows for: wonder born of beauty, wonder born of mystery.