There’s no reason poetry cannot be intoxicating and compelling as a physical experience. Intellectual tricks and pedestrian word games are hardly the thing I look for when I turn to poetry for nourishment, and I suspect a lot of the judges reading for those contests feel the same way, especially after they’ve plowed through a couple of hundred messy first book manuscripts that sound like they were written by a literary theory addict on a cheap beer binge.
The first time I saw my first book was in Baltimore, during a blizzard. Record snow fell, dulling the outside sound. It was at AWP, the conference, and I walked up to the New Issues table. There it was, displayed. They gave me a copy. Years later my mother would accidentally run over it in the driveway.