Interesting piece. I’d have a difficult time sitting through a reading given by a poet who didn’t seem to have at least a little enthusiasm for what they had written. I feel rather the same about seemingly brilliant professors who can make their lectures so boring that it makes it difficult to listen, concentrate, enjoy and understand.
This is just my opinion, but poetry has always seemed as much about performance as about written words. The speaking is what makes it come alive for me. If I don’t understand a poem, I read it aloud two or three times. Btw, when I was working on my graduate degree in Eng. lit, I was assigned to the university’s writing tutorial services. I used to work with students who were having problems with their essays. I frequently had students bring in a poem they were supposed to write about. They wouldn’t know what to say because they didn’t understand the poem. I think they thought I’d explain it to them. Instead, I’d make them read it to me at least a couple of times — sometimes more. The first time, was usually quite pathetic. Subsequent attempts were usually much better. After a couple of readings, we’d sit and discuss the poem – and most times, they’d already be starting to get the meaning. I liken the process to talking to your dog about your problems. You already know the answer, but you just have to hear it.