Can poetry ever become a popular venue for communication? It seems as though poetry is the rarified form for an elite group who have either an innate or acquired taste for it. Indeed, in most cases, it is probably a bit of both.
But, I think that while the nuance of poetry can create some degree of proper obscurity, much of the form relies on its lyrical beauty to attract us. I use the word lyrical in a very broad sense. In doing so, does the form get in the way of the substance? More importantly, is the poet writing to be read, speaking to be heard, or writing and speaking in order to express themselves regardless of their reception? If it is the former, then we have an obligation, indeed a solemn obligation, to draw the reader in. It is reasonably evident that in any form of communication it is incumbent on the communicator to do so in such a form as to be received by the intended receiver.
The poet must determine precisely who the receiver is, and then encode their communication so it achieves the essential purpose. I am not suggesting that an emphasis on craft should dilute the poet’s effort to tap into their creative epicenter. On the contrary, I am concerned that an emphasis on form is getting in the way of purpose.
I make allowance for that poet who writes with no particular purpose, or who writes as a form of expression, or even as a form of personal therapy. However, for that writer who intends to achieve an objective, who has an acknowledged purpose, we might want to rethink the structure of our approach. Art, in general, is more than an end. It is also a means.