I come neither to bury nor to praise Mary Oliver. Her kitten poem is just a handy and fairly neutral example, as far as I'm concerned. What interest me are larger questions of poetic valuation and evaluation, which I've discussed here before.
Just to be clear: my "adequate/inadequate" scale a couple posts back does not refer to the measurement of the value of a poem, but of the degree of technical craft (again, craft being narrowly defined as a familiar set of mechanically "workshoppable" skills such as meter, lineation, rhyme, etc.) required to qualify a poem as "finished." Different poems are obviously situated at all imaginable points along a potentially infinite (and indeterminate) continuum of value judgments. My point is that craft execution can be evaluated only in terms of its adequacy or inadequacy in the specific context of the particular demands which a given poem makes of craft--or more accurately, though it can be evaluated on a more nuanced level, such evaluation is effectively arbitrary, evincing a myopically pointless concern with superfluous detail.
To be sure, there are readers who measure poetic value solely in terms of craft so defined, who believe that a successful poem is one which manages to convey a paraphraseable meaning (preferably a meaning decided upon in advance of the act of composition) in conformance with a set of predetermined prosodic rules. The smoother the meter, the cleverer the rhymes, the stricter the avoidance of cliches, and the more economy with which the (accessible) meaning is articulated, the better the poem. If that is all one asks of a poem, then good craft + clear meaning = good poetry.
I acknowledge that many great poems have been composed according to an aesthetic in which craft is of the highest importance. In such cases, the "adequate" mark is simply set higher on the scale. Even here, anything below adequate is simply inadequate, no matter how much skill is involved in it. An example might be a Greek ode in an intricate quantitative measure: if one foot is marred, the entire production suffers (unless one subscribes to an aesthetic in which a minute amount of imperfection actually adds value, as with some textiles, glasswork, etc.).
But imagine being in a workshop and trying to carry over the criteria used in such a specialized emphasis on this particular kind of craft to poems by, say, Linh Dinh or Stephanie Young. What would that even entail? No one on a committee appointed to police their verse for craft-correctness would ever be able to agree whether line breaks should have gone here or there, or whether a particular image is effective or not. The standards for determining these kinds of things are not always articulable outside a nebulous and often fractally diffuse "originary" scene of authorial invention.
This is not to say that craft is completely irrelevant to meaningful evaluation of Mary Oliver's poem. Look, I can mess it up royally just by changing the line breaks:
anything I took
the perfectly black stillborn kitten with the one large
eye in the
center of its small forehead from the house
and buried it in a
But it would be a mistake to conclude on the basis of this patently perverse jumble that every possible reordering of the lines has a correspondingly hierarchizable position on some virtual chart. The following alterations, I would argue, have a virtually negligible effect on the poem's craft-adequacy.
More amazed than anything
I took the perfectly black stillborn kitten
with the one large eye in the center
of its small forehead
from the house cat's bed
and buried it
in a field behind the house.
If you believe that they do change the adequacy level, I would further argue that it is only because you are already familiar with the original line breaks, and have naturalized them in your consciousness, and/or that your opinion is too idiosyncratic to serve as a meaningful guide, since any number of other readers are likely to have differing opinions with just as little basis in any objective criteria for judgment (beyond, say, "it just has a better flow that way").