A poet is one who expresses; it may be through many apparent or ELUSIVE depths of writing, social classes, etc. I've read original poetry becomes DEAD after it is placed upon paper for others to interpret. After the poetry has gained its 'permanence' on paper, does it not change, even to its creator, because the moment of creation has passed and circumstance has changed? In essence, all of our poetry has died and is in metamorphis to others' interpretation.
At that point, we SENSE what appeals to us and what does not. Strictly, personal choice. This probably depends on background and location, as we all have different speech patterns and pronunciations. Sometimes, the most common words can have the greatest depth, depending on their context, therefore, I can't say that great poetry is dependent upon great vocabulary. Word choice, perhaps, yes.
Poetry is food for thought and music to ears. What food may appeal to us one day, may not the next day. If we ate only from the plates of "great poets", we may not perceive life situations, emotions, and images that unacclaimed people of expression leave for us.
On some days, I like to read just for the music of poetry, not for the comprehension. The alliteration, assonance, etc. can put me into various time periods, such as the Romantic or Impressionistic.
Although I have my favorites, I can honestly say that I can learn something from the beginning expressor, as well as the more "accomplished", which is simply a matter of opinion.
I thank you for posing the question! It's a good one!
Incidently, Huan Yi, I like your play on words in the first line!
To answer the question, according to my definition, I am a poet, but how good can be determined only by the reader, and only at the particular time it is read. If the words or thoughts would linger on beyond the reading, I might consider myself good for that instant. Of the hundreds of poems I've written, only one begs me to read it over and over, soooo, I probably would not consider myself a good poet, but many are unique, having several layers, plays on words or sounds, as well as plays on rhythm. I've never tried to learn the rules or rhythms of poetry or do I care to. I am NOT a 100%er when it comes to any theory of any hobby, but I totally respect those who are. I just don't have the attention span to stay on task.
[This message has been edited by miscellanea (02-23-2007 06:27 PM).]