Last week I cited a poem by Matt Henriksen composed entirely of overt ideas, just to show that it's possible, but not to say that it's the only or the easiest or the best way to put ideas in poems. (Matt, sorry I misspelled your name before; I was just reproducing the typo in Handsome.) The central "idea" of a poem doesn't have to be overtly stated at all.
Here's a poem by Jon Woodward that I first read on Verse Daily:
SalamanderSuperficially, this poem is pure narrative description. He said this, then I said this, then this happened, etc., with no editorializing. But this poem is remarkable because it has an idea. You can't locate it in any one line; the idea is diffuse, it emerges from the poem. You can think of any number of dumb ways to paraphrase the idea (e.g., "Sometimes people say and even think they can't do something when they can") but there is no better way to express it than the poem itself. That paraphrase especially sucks because it turns the poem into a lesson; it's reductive and aphoristic and the poem is not. The poem is like Mexican magical realism.
The janitor asked me how
to pronounce the creature's name
& I said salamander for him.
He looked at it on the screen
and I looked at him.
Slide your legs into its tail I said.
I can't he said as he did.
Dish your guts there into its cavity
of guts, I can't he said (manifestly untrue
for he did so). Mash the thing's
name and yours I said together into
that irreversible hole I know you keep
and he did & it broke over his face
& flowed, water from the earth,
I can't, I can't, he said.
I'm only really moved by poetry when it feels like a direct manifestation of thought. (Which doesn't mean it has to be "stream of consciousness" ... I don't know about y'all, but I can think in complete sentences.) This is why I'm often suspicious of forms -- they're a way to manipulate content to fit an established pattern. It's like, "I've got some poem content here, should I package it as a sonnet or a sestina? Sestinas can be nice*." However successful they are, forms always feel somewhat like an exercise.
So, can I preemptively but the kibosh on comments of the "But I don't like that poem" nature? Even if you don't like this particular poem (weirdo), you can see my point, right? If not, tell me why.
*Not true. Sestinas are always tiresome.