As a goof, I quoted a silly Bob Dylan lyric in the Post's title (I included the part in parentheses for its simplicity and with the hope that someone would Google that phrase and find my blog).
*** From here you can skip down to the other section buttressed by triple-asterisks if you want the impetus of this post - the two paragraphs leading up to it are really just prologue ***
Anyway, I'm thinking often about how critics like to "interpret" art / poetry, and how there is even a specialty in journalism called Art Journalism (thank you, Art in America). Today, I synthesized that knowledge with my own experience of art and poetry, and came up with this "quality" ("requirement") of great art.
Before espousing any kind of "rule" of great art, I'd like to state clearly here I never attempted to make any "definition" of poetry until I came up with a foundation, that foundation or most-basic of definitions being "Poetry is an object made of words." That was a major moment for me because I shed then the idea of "universal truths" and the idea that poetry therefore must be made of biographical information and state (directly or indirectly) a meaning that at least I, the poet, am aware of and can restate in prose.
*** The essence (of the art object) is unfamiliarity, but the effect of experiencing it is 1) you feel it grab your attention / capture your imagination, and 2) (here's the new part) “it makes you think.” The pleasure then comes from having your mind go places within you that feel deep. Maybe, contemplating the poem or piece of art, you come up empty; that is, you don’t find sense, you can’t relate it exactly to your life experiences. But you are happy, happy to have gone deep, and to be seeing and feeling within yourself the depths your consciousness does not normally plumb or reside in. ***