I love Michael Johnson's Overweening Generalist blog. He asked:
"When you first encounter a new poet and you read him/her, do you consciously look for rhythm or other melopoeic aspects, structure, vocabulary, imagery, or the poet's semantic environment? (The easy answer is "Yes.")
Or do you just read them, and let whatever impressions your get wash over you before you "think" too much about what's going on?"
I do not consciously look for rhythm or their melopoeic aspects, etc. I usually read out loud and hope. I do not tend to read many new poets, and it takes me a while to appreciate a new poet. I think of Bob Wilson's article on Ginsberg in Coincidance where he talks about the challenges in finding Ginsberg's "Great Bass".
I think of works of art as wells. In some wells I have found water. In others people I respect say they have found water. In others I just don't know. I have found solace in the poetry of Zukofsky, Pound, Shakespeare, etc. I keep looking for it in Spenser. Kenneth Koch and Frances Yates suggest solace there.
In reading a new poet out loud, I delight in the sound, if I can. I mostly read poetry for a fifth/third circuit boost. In your words, I "just read them, and let whatever impressions...wash over [me]." If I like it, I read more. I tend to become gluttonous with poetry I love.