A group of friends gathers once a month to read and share and critique one another’s poems. They know one another well enough that they can be empathic, honest, and helpful; also, they are trusting enough to bring poems that really aren’t “working.” The critique’s the best way to get some understanding of why a poem is not working.
Recently, one member shared a poem that was somewhat philosophical in its overtones. The rhetoric of the poem was shifting, getting away from her, and she knew it. But she couldn’t figure out why, or how to correct the problem.
The talk moved away from critique and into values–for awhile. So the group was no longer exactly discussing the poem, or poetry, at all.
And yet, through the conversation, the writer recognized where at least part of the poem’s problem lay…which was in image and in structure (as illuminated, perhaps, by value and by rhetoric).
Reason can lead to beauty.