Here is just a sample of what the Chicago Critics can do. It's a footnote from an essay called "An Outline of Poetic Theory", by Elder Olson, which first appeared (in book form) in a collection of essays titled Critics and Criticism, ed. by R.S. Crane, published in 1952 (the year I was born!).
It's a rather long footnote, but I'm going to transcribe the whole thing, because I firmly believe that if & when these sentences are read carefully, and their implications are fully understood, the outcome could be a revolution in the critical climate of reception for contemporary U.S. poetry (at least on its "revolutionary" wing, anyway).
"Nowadays when the nature of poetry has become so uncertain that everyone is trying to define it, definitions usually begin: 'Poetry is words which, or language which, or discourse which', and so forth. As a matter of fact, it is nothing of the kind. Just as we should not define a chair as wood which has such and such characteristics - for a chair is not a kind of wood but a kind of furniture - so we ought not to define poetry as a kind of language. The chair is not wood but wooden; poetry is not words but verbal. In one sense, of course, the words are of the utmost importance; if they are not the right words or if we do not grasp them, we do not grasp the poem. In another sense, they are the least important element in the poem, for they do not determine the character of anything else in the poem; on the contrary, they are determined by everything else. They are the only things we see or hear; yet they are governed by imperceptible things which are inferred from them. And when we are moved by poetry, we are not moved by the words, except in so far as sound and rhythm move us; we are moved by the things that the words stand for.
"A gifted British poet, G.S. Fraser, has objected to these remarks on diction ('Some Notes on Poetic Diction', Penguin New Writing, No. 37 , pp. 116 ff.): 'I think, on the contrary, that criticism should pay a very close attention to diction. I agree with Mr. Allen Tate: 'For, in the long run, whatever the poet's philosophy may be, however wide may be the extension of his meaning... by his language shall you know him.' And I do not find that Mr. Olson's sturdy-looking piece of reasoning stands up very well to my regretful probing. In what sense is it true that we are simply 'moved by the things that the words stand for', and not by the words themselves? Certainly not in any sense in which other words would do as well; in which the fullest paraphrase, or the most intelligent exposition, would be a substitute for the original poem. And certainly not in any sense in which the situation that the poem refers to, if we were capable of imagining that without words - if, for instance, we could draw a picture of it - would be a substitute for the original poem, either. Not, that is, in any sense, in which 'the things the words stand for' means merely the kind of physical object, abstract concept, or emotional state at which the words point. The pointing is the least of it.'
"I willingly concede what I have never debated: that diction is very important to poetry; that, as Tate suggests, distinction of language is an important index of poetic power (although I cannot agree that it is the sole index or even the prime index); that criticism ought to pay the utmost attention to diction; that, as T.S. Eliot has said, the poet is likely to be extraordinarily interested in, and skilful with, language; that we are not 'moved by the things that the words stand for' in any sense that would allow us to dispense with the particular words by which the 'things' are constituted for us; and all similar propositions. The point is not whether diction is important; the reader, if he does not grasp the words, cannot grasp anything further, and the poet, if he cannot find the appropriate words and arrange them properly, has not written a poem. In another respect, however, the words are the least important, in that they are governed and determined by every other element in the poem. There is agreement on all hands that words 'function' in poetry; there should be no difficulty therefore, no matter how we conceive of the structure of poetry, in seeing that words must be subordinate to their functions, for they are selected and arranged with a view to these. Mr. Fraser himself has no difficulty with this fact, although he is disturbed by my statement of the fact; for he goes on to discuss (pp. 121 ff.) 'a wide-scale current use of poetic diction in a really vicious sense to disguise a failure of choice, a confusion of character, or a lack of clear thought'; and he also remarks (p. 126) that 'one cannot ask people to express themselves as confusingly as possible, in the hope that their confusions will prove to have a clear underlying structure; for, as Mr. Schwatz truly says, 'If this were the only kind of poetry... most poetry would not be worth reading.' ' " (Critics and Criticism, abridged ed. 1957, pp. 21-22)
Elder Olson : "words... are governed by imperceptible things". In this regard, again, Mandelstam : "The Word is Psyche".