When I applied for the seminar I did not know anything about Simon Armitage and very little about poetry. Andrew told me that after the seminar I'd know whether I like poetry or not. I thought I'd get some widely acknowledged tools and they'd be the basis for my 'evaluation' of the poems. As I had to find out, poetry does not work like that. Even though there are more challenging rhyme schemes and line breaks, there is no rule that these poems are better.
Poems are all about content. They are about how they affect the reader.
Armitage does that in a very impressive way. He has his very own usage of language which gives his poems some sort of consistency. Still they are all quite different. What impressed me most is the kind of work he did – poetry, lyrics, prose. And all very to the point. But still making the reader/watcher reflect on what was just presented. In the poems, he often implies some personal judgment. Then again the lyrics in the documentary are very neutral. The prose is difficult to categorise. But it seems to me that this is what poetry is about – non-categorisation. It is a deeply reflected (if done by professionals) and dense form of presenting thoughts and ideas. What the reader makes of it depends to a certain degree in his/her personal experiences. Personally, the seminar made me realise that I like poetry. And that it I'd have to invest a huge amount of time to really understand some of it.