Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Those of you who are regular readers have no doubt seen me mention that you should never confuse the speaker in the poem with the poet. Just because I write about something in a poem, it doesn't mean it happened to me. Let's consider the two poems I wrote for my children: "Mama Zeus and Katrina Athena" and "Boy" at http://dumpedfirstwife.blogspot.com/2011/12/boy.html ."
Am I the poet? Yes. Did I write these poems for MY children? Yes. Am I the speaker in the poem? No. My daughter did not spring from my head to be born as a fully-grown goddess. My son did not have to fly away from an island on wings made of wax and feathers by his father.
I learned to conduct the critical analysis of literature through the use of New Criticism (not really new -- it started in the 1930s and is coming back into vogue). Try thinking of New Criticism as placing a poem or a short story or a novel in a bell jar and studying the text from all angles. Don't compare it to other poems; don't consider the poet's experiences; don't concern yourself with the time period in which it was written unless it's relevant to the text.
New Criticism = Close Textual Analysis
As for poetry, poetry does not make statements. Poetry suggests; poetry indicates. Although the sound of the poetry achieved through the words I use is important to me, I am more concerned with the images I present by putting the words together. And I don't care if the words rhyme.
I appreciate the many kind comments you have made on my poems, but I want to make sure we're on the same page. When Yeats wrote "Leda and the Swan," I assure you he was not present when Zeus turned himself into a swan to rape Leda, a young woman. I can suggest all sorts of things in poetry, but it doesn't make them true.
Normally, my poetry and my fiction come from a kernel of truth in my life -- but that's all.
Infinities of love,