What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?
The stories that you tell, the words that you use and refine, the characters you try to give life to are merely tools with which you circle around the elusive, unnamed, shapeless thing that belongs to you alone, and which nevertheless is a sort of key to all the doors, the real reason that you spend so much of your life sitting at a table tapping away, filing pages. The question in every story is the same: is this the right story to seize what lies silent in my depths, that living thing which if captured, spreads through all the pages and gives them life?
If we look at classic authors, we can see that evil characters are not always unsympathetic; we are drawn to schemers, revenge-seekers, bad hombres, because they have strong intentions in a vapid world, piercing insights into the fog of existence, unrelenting plans in a rudderless world.
By "craft" I mean not just prosody, but structure, point of view, rhetorical elements, and so on--all that shapes the poem's language into a stance toward the subject. Of course, there is always some difference between the writing and its subject; the difference is inherent in language itself, inherent in literary genres. A good political poem will understand this difference, yet will work, by way of craft, to engage the subject as fully, intensely, I daresay truly, as possible.