You know, I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to read a book. Of course, one can draw more from some given works by contextualising them, or by having shared references, etc. But at the end of the day, and especially with poetry, it either resonates with you or it doesn’t. It might just, at one point—you’ll change and your reading eye will too. But don’t beat yourself up because you’re not enjoying it as much as you think you ought.
If that’s any consolation, I didn’t think War of The Foxes was on par with Crush either. It’s not that it felt lesser, really, but I was… aware of being sidelined by it? I thought War of The Foxes was much more controlled than Crush (which, in its rawness, also has its clumsiness—both of them interesting, though), but much less textured, too. Sometimes it… grazes… something? But it rarely ever conveys it fully, to me at least.
I’ve wondered too if it’s something to do with maturity (mine)—I felt the same when comparing Autobiography of Red, which I love, then its sequel, Red Doc>, which was published 10 years later or so. Like War of The Foxes, Red Doc> left me with an off-feeling, or, because it came after Autobiography of Red and Crush respectively, a sense of the former work being slightly… tainted? Stifled? by the neutral passivity and detachment of its successor. Bittersweetness at the strange lapse between the two. But in both cases, their authors had grown more mature (in years and in writing) in the interval, and outgrown the described turmoil, and were writing after coming to terms with it. Writing about that very detachment I was grudging them. So, yeah. I’m not dismissing the possibility that maybe, those will be for me (and for you?) not now, but a little later?