It seems to me that experience in poetry has little to do with the experience being related to in the poem itself. It's selfish, really, but I don't care what the speaker is or has gone through, unless they can offer me the experience first hand. The question then becomes, how do we do that?
Well, it is my opinion that it is only possible through the altering of perception. As Viktor Shklovsky says in his article, "Art as Technique," "Art exists so that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things...Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.” Poetry, as an art form, should adhere to these standards as well, but it always seems that the idea of a "literature" keeps blocking us from doing so.
Though we'd all admit that literature is artful, are we all willing to experience it as we do art in a museum?
I'd argue that we do not. That, unlike all other arts that are not presented to us in book form, we desire to have literature do the work for us. We want it to tell us a story, to take us to different worlds, to show us things outside our everyday. And while that may appear similar to Shklovsky's purpose, it is nothing more than novelty, like going to see a circus sideshow to gain an appreciation of your own humanity.
Our own experiences are never as complete as the novel, or the epic, or the biography desire to be, and so we do not experience them in the way we experience art. We view these experiences as second-hand knowledge and often congratulate those authors for re-creating those experiences so thoroughly.
Poetry, though, has the chance, not to do this, but to instead create new experiences between author and audience, to offer, as Jack Spicer said, "a narrative which refuses to adopt an imposed story line." In short, it's the creation of a space in which a reader has the ability or option of creating a new experience by way of their interaction with the world created in the poem.
This was brief, but this is also a blog, and who has the time. Here's a poem: