Self-expression is one of the least interesting aspects of writing to me. Craft is the thing. Putting words together that take your reader somewhere, using the tools at hand to make something, make something happen, not just express something— that takes real work and real revision.

I feel that “poetry takes work and revision” should be a duh statement, but it seems to need saying. Just writing something down doesn’t make it poetry. It can be useful and good for your personal self, but that’s not the same thing.

But, of course, if the poet has done the work, s/he is in the poem anyhoo. Mark Doty in The Art of Description: “The more accurate and sensory the apparent evocation of things, the more we have the sense of someone there doing the looking, a sensibility at work.”