When I was working as the Interim Faculty Admin at the Institute of American Indian Arts a few years ago, one of the instructors there was teaching from the book Composition in Art by Henry Rankin Poore. I was able to read a bit of it while I was there. The section on entrances and exits in pictures seemed particularly useful to a the composition of a poem as well:
“While mystery, subtlety and evasive charm all have their place in a work of art, they should not stand in the way of one necessary quality—immediate attraction. The picture should be like an open door to the view without anything blocking the threshold.”
“There must be one spot or area to which the other parts are subordinate and to which the eye is immediately attracted…[it] must be simple and uncluttered and have the essential ingredient of leading the eye on further into the picture. Any one element that stops the eye so powerfully that it simply cannot go on is destructive to the composition.”
“Getting out of the picture successfully is every bit as important as getting into it. This does not mean, however, backing out…The exit should be so carefully guarded that after the viewer’s eye has roamed about and seen everything, it comes upon the exit naturally. Providing two or more exits is a common error of bad composition.”
A little snack of food-thought.