I will decide today to view writing poetry as a way to learn. It is a way to learn through observation and participation. I am firm believer in the idea that one does not intrinsically know oneself. Just like you learn about the world by observing and participating with the world, we learn about ourselves by observing and interacting with our own thinking and behavior. Often times I will read a poem I have written and say, "Wow, I didn't know I felt that way."
I also believe that poetry is good practice in changing perspective. This is a skill to be develop for poetry's sake, but also for other aspects of my life - music, friendships, family, and even my research. A poem is something that creates its impression through interactions with its reader. The stuff of poems doesn't reside in the poem, nor in the person; but like all things good, it is neither here nor there.