It's fun to think about poetry, which presents a lot of mysteries, conundrums. It's fun to talk about it. But making it is something else. The activity of making poems resists theoretical frames & boxes. Take, for example, the postmodern thesis that the lyric Subject is an illusion, a mirage of false consciousness driven by repressed class-historical-material forces, or by a mis-perception of the de-centered insubstantiality of the Real. Yet, au contraire, what the actual labor of making poems reveals to the maker, is that the poem is the outcome of a personal struggle with an unaccountable something or someone other than the "lyric I". And the very process of dialectical making - this struggle - tends to carve both poet and "other" into high relief - to bring on a greater intensity of conscious presence or being. The process itself becomes primary : a process which involves the shedding or transformation of abstract preconceptions of every kind.
Poetry is conceptual by the very nature of its medium, language - so the phrase "conceptual poetry" is redundant. But the "concepts" in poetry are secondary. The primary power of poetry resides in names : the originary soundings of enunciation, evocation, expression. The words, that is, the beginning and end of the poem, do not "represent" things : they establish things. The dualisms of mind and body, thought and action, spirit and matter are transmuted within a sort of explanatory harmonics : earth is (figuratively speaking) transported to heaven. Prose and poetry, innocence and experience, are not divided, but implicated with each other, woven together in unbreakable knots.
There are a lot of anti-poetic forces at work within American Poetryland. There have been for a while. Groups with agendas to promote at the expense of actual poetry. But poetry is a stubborn, resistant, ineradicable thicket of laborious making. It will not be undone by superficial theoretical make-overs. Notions like the "obsolescent lyric Subject" are glib reductions from a much more complex actuality. Strong poetry actually builds on the "I" of the solitary lyric - branches out from this seed into more expansive forms - dialogue, satire, narrative, epic, drama... The whole ancient "wheel of Virgil" (eclogue/georgic/epic) still awaits contemporary fulfillments.