I enjoyed meeting Robert in Grahamstown last month, here is an interview that came out of it. My favourite bit is his description of first getting hit over the head by the power of poetry.
I had a similar experience last night with Antjie Krog's Skinned, so the wonderful thing is, it keeps happening.
We were taught the usual wrong way, the assumption that every poem has a message or meaning hidden in it, like an algebraic equation you have to solve for x. In my final year at school though, something happened, an epiphany. I was reading a poem (no doubt looking for the meaning) when suddenly it all came alive. It was being transmitted straight to my ear rather than to my intellect, I could hear the sound of every word. After that I never read poetry in the same way.