>"I imagine our poetries should be as varied and strange as the places and peoples of the the world - not to mention this event going on in the background called the universe."<
Indeed, but such poetry is rare, at least when compared to the volume of poetry that does anything but that. Hi there Peter, by the way, i take it it is you - Miro's Sardine Tree with its branches poking the stars out of the sky? The fact that such poetry has always been a joy for me has never, however, stopped me wondering why it is not what many poetry readers want. 'Letting the universe in' ummm? Which one? Answering myself, the universe of freedom and possibility I suppose, the universe invited in by so many C20 modernisms. For me Ian's question: "... given the impossibility of including an entire context, however innovative the form, how do we decide what to put in and what to leave out?" is not really a question which arises in practise because the invitation to the universe is just that, an open invitation - it is a matter of who is going to jump in, from the universe, and accept the invitation first, the chicken or the goat? - your book is still fresh in my mind Peter - in other words the decision is not ours, not really, not for those who desire that universe of poetry.
For some poets, without being too dramatic about it, a kind of abdication of choice is actually the beginning of a process that lets freedom into their poetry. And I hope this doesn't sound too romantic - I am not trying to be romantic I am simply GOING BY RESULTS.
Peter Riley's point about the folly of trying to separate the self from what's 'out there' should be just too obvious, so why isn't it?