Poetry is the fount of all writing. Without a deep understanding of poetry and its practices, any power the writer might have is greatly diminished.
Of all writing, the discipline in poetry is the most demanding. You have to learn to distill what you mean into the most economic and at the same time the most elegant and accurate language. In poetry you have to see language as both music and content. A poet must be the master of simile, metaphor, and form, and of the precise use of vernacular and grammar, implication and innuendo. The poet has to be able to create symbols that are muted and yet undeniable. The poet, above all other writers, must know how to edit out the extraneous, received, repetitious and misleading. A poet will ask herself, “Why did I use that word, and how will that usage affect meaning later in the poem when that same word is used again? A similar word?”
The poet seeks perfection in every line and sentence; she demands flawlessness in form.
If the fiction writer demands half of what the poet asks of herself, then that writer will render an exquisitely written novel.