If someone’s really a beginner, then you simply try to isolate the moments when the poem seems alive, as opposed to inert.  You know, if you can see from the first line where it’s going, and then it goes there, it’s a dead thing.  It takes you nowhere you don’t know already.  And if it does so in elegant metaphors, so what?  This poem has already been written 3,000 times.  But when you see something that is unprecedented, and if you can show the person that.  So that’s one level of teaching, but then once people become really artists — young artists, but artists — it’s not doing it better according to some formula.  It’s, “Where does the poem wilt a little?”  Where is it the most conventional or generic, and can that moment be addressed and reinvented, so that that taint of the generic will be forever obliterated?  It’s that that you try to do.  It’s a fascinating problem, and different for every poem.  To try to feel out what separates this from a memorable work of art, and how could it become that memorable work of art?  It’s what you do on your own work too, but it’s the same thing with theirs, only they’re making a different kind of poem, a different kind of sound. It looks different on the page. Their concerns are different.  So imaginatively, you enter the universe of that poem.  And, in a way, you do that when you read great work.  But there’s something wonderful about having that kind of immersion when the thing is still malleable.  It’s thrilling, and poems can be transformed.  And the students, of course, or young writers, get very excited when that happens.  But every one of those books that I chose — and then sometimes worked on with the people — had different strengths, different problems.  They were each utterly unique.  Jay Hopler is nothing like Peter Streckfus, and neither of them is anything like Richard Silken.  All those books had different problems.