More thoughts on criminality in relation to poetry: poetry is itself a form of "getting away with" something, a ruse or scam. It must be "taken on faith" to a degree unparalleled by the non-verbal arts. A painting can be used to deceive, but only in very narrowly circumscribed contexts (a picture of a tunnel on the side of a solid wall used to trick motorists into crashing, for example, or less outlandishly, a portrait that makes the subject more attractive than in real life). Dance, music, needlework--it's nearly impossible even to conceive what deception might entail in such cases.
The apparent difficulty of metrical composition and rhyme might seem to suggest one objective standard by which poetry can be judged as "legitimate," but even here the difficulty in question is one that amounts to the poet's ability to engage in "smooth talking." Aesthetic competence in this field is directly proportionate to one's capacity for--potentially at least--engaging style over substance.
"But I know truly good poetry when I see it, even if some people are fooled by inferior work." Sure, maybe. But such a claim in itself is further evidence of spurious claims to expertise based on subtleties of linguistic nuance rather than verifiable standards or truth claims. In this sense, the poetic "expert" (the critic, the scholar, the enthusiastic reader) is complicit in poetry's general shadiness.
Poets are fakes. The "better" they are, the more fake they are (a reversible equation).
By saying this publicly, of course, I am like the professional safecracker who reveals the tricks of the trade to the establishment and ordinary people (same thing), and thus risks getting whacked.
Except that most poets are too wimpy to actually whack anyone (knock on wood).