What makes a poet? - David Williams's Blog

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What makes a poet?

Blog Posted:3/24/2013 9:31:00 AM
I have often heard it said ' Ah so you are a poet ' simply because I write poetry but does that actually make me/us poets? What constitutes being a 'poet' if a person writes one poem in their whole life does that make them a poet? Do you have to be published? Does it have to be your full time job? Is it what you are know for? Where are the rules on being a poet?

I am a professional Advanced Driving Instructor I have passed many exams and advanced driving tests to become one and I can hold my head up high and state clearly that I am an Advanced Driving Instructor, but where or how does it state that we are poets?

I like to make furniture in my spare time but that does not make me a carpenter.

I have had this debate many times in my poetry/writing groups and no-one has yet explained it to me, a 'writer' and I am not demonising writers per se, but all of the writers of stories that I personally know, all baulk at the thought of writing in such a constricted manner of a poetry form.

I feel there is something special about being known as a poet, to me it lifts you above the title of 'writer' but I still don't know what actually makes a person a 'poet'....to this day I say to the people who ask me 'are you a poet? My answer is always 'I write poetry, does that make me a poet'?....

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  1. Date: 4/1/2013 12:17:00 PM
    In the scheme of life it just don't seem relevant. If a person claims to be a poet but doesn't write very well and never has been recognized who am I to say "no, you are not a poet"?

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  1. Date: 3/27/2013 2:13:00 PM
    Excellent thinking David, This could fall under many areas, as well. Does writing a book make you a writer, or (like you say) writing poetry make you a poet. Of coarse if you love to write then by definition alone, you do in fact write, hence, you are a writer of words. The same principal can be applied for example, to a Chef or a cook. Now in my humble opinion a Chef is educated in the art of cooking and flavors, while I prefer to call myself a cook. So if I am not educated and I write, then what am I called if not a writer? I would think a writer does in fact write with words, as opposed to an Author who is actually educated in the forms of writing. What are your thoughts?

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  1. Date: 3/26/2013 2:18:00 PM
    Lmao, So many poets who say they aren't poets. Guess it all depends on your definition. I love all the comments! Yes or no, we all love poetry, so keep on writing and posting. If someone calls u a poet, take the compliment, if someone says ur not- don't take it to heart. Wonderful blog David. :-) Tanya

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  1. Date: 3/26/2013 5:21:00 AM
    Hi David this blog is a copy from cyndi's blog on your question?..... Well David, i'm a weaver by trade, and as a young man i was good at it....especially the creative side of the task... so maybe i could say i am a weaver of cloth, which is no different to being a writer of poetry. designs and words all come from the same place one's mind, a self induced creation...so i'll get personal with you David,, and i'll tell you the answer to your question,, yes i believe fervently you are a poet, just as i would believe you a weaver upon seeing the finish goods

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  1. Date: 3/25/2013 6:01:00 PM
    David, I just wonder, if there was an absolute answer to your question and you were to discover it - would it change the way you look at things? Would you behave differently, to achieve the goal of being a poet? Or, would you sleep better knowing, definitively, whether or not you were indeed a poet? So, I wonder, what difference does it make? Who cares what differentiates a writer from a poet? I write poems - to some who follow me (the one or two), I may be considered a poet; to some friends and family, I am considered a nut job, pain in the butt, writer of gibberish; to those who don't know me, I am a nobody and a nothing. And yet, I write stuff. Maybe I am a stuff-et!

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    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/26/2013 2:03:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Hi Joe I don't think there is an absolute answer, if there is I haven't heard it yet!...
  1. Date: 3/25/2013 4:44:00 PM
    Ah yes, labels. We get so caught up on labels. I wonder why that is? By having a child, you are a parent. This does not mean you are a good parent, a bad parent, a professional parent, a loved parent or a hated parent - but, you are a parent. By giving birth to a poem, you are a poet. Good, bad, great, awful - who knows - but poet ye be. When people ask me if I consider myself a poet, I say, "Read my poetry and then you tell me - am I a poet?" Just one man's opinion - but, my advice - who cares how we are labelled - just be what you are. A rose by any other name ...

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 3/25/2013 6:45:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    just answer hell YES Joe and I love writing.
  1. Date: 3/25/2013 1:16:00 PM
    Hullo again, David. I can almost sense your frustration from all the way over here haha!(j/k). On the surface, if someone writes poetry, "touches" others with one's poetry, then one can be labelled as a poet. This is the consensus amongst the PS blogging crowd. I'd like to think I understand some of the aspects that you are attempting to get at below the surface. Hey, if I visit my sister in the lake district, we could have a pint(or wotever, if you don't drink). If this fills you with trepidation(haha!), you could visit my sister's place....she will keep me in line, don't worry. As for your reply involving Shakespeare, some believe he wasn't even a writer, let alone a poet, but was instead a front for a quartet of writers fearing persecution at the time. http://maps.thefullwiki.org/Shakespeare_authorship_question(you've probably heard this info before; some of it might be new though? Some great speculation in this article.)

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    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/25/2013 1:35:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Hi Chris yep have read all of the speculation on Shakespeare, as for that pint you are on, your sister is only an hour from me...would really like that....
  1. Date: 3/25/2013 10:44:00 AM
    I don't think you should hesitate at all, you ARE a poet because you write poetry& a carpenter & all the above mentioned things and MUCH MORE I am sure. The question really is are you GOOD at or an EXPERT at any of the above. The judge of that in our culture would be 'do you sell'

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    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/25/2013 2:41:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I think that deep down that is the problem, I don't think I am good enough to be a poet...
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 3/25/2013 2:29:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Ahhh! My dear Deborah ...what would we do without you? You're right! If we're poets because we write poetry ...are we good enough?
  1. Date: 3/25/2013 8:27:00 AM
    David, I wrote a poem once called, "I am not a poet" I will have to look for it. It covers what you are asking here, but doesn't answer your question. I agree with you. I also make furniture (rustic) but I'm no carpenter. I've been carving longer than I've been writing, but I not a master carver. I've been welding for ten years, but I'm not a welder....or am I?

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    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 3/25/2013 2:26:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    : D ... I agree with you, Caleb! Im not a chef; Im not a nurse; Im not a gardener; Im not a stripper ... well, sometimes I make a little show ... LOL!
  1. Date: 3/25/2013 7:12:00 AM
    when words spring out of the heart ..when inanimate things talk to you ...when your words stir someones heart... when you try to define the puzzle called life ....then you are definitely a poet ....yes,you are a poet....:)

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    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 3/25/2013 2:23:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I think you nail it! I love this definition, Irfana!
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 6:54:00 PM
    Just as a sculptor creates something magical from a lump of clay is called just that...a sculptor, then one who writes poetry is a poet...I think it is an art form as well but one that needs to be practiced and made an experience to grow from and learn. I believe we are all poets who engage in this art of poetry. Yet you can always become a better poet or a better sculptor of words that others will want to read and maybe shake their heads and say "Ah yes"

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    Seal Avatar Richard D Seal Date: 3/24/2013 8:54:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    "Ah yes"
    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 8:06:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

  1. Date: 3/24/2013 6:07:00 PM
    Hello POETS, how are all of you POETS on the soup doing??? I am confused... yes no yes no.. yes no.. your wrong your right, your wrong your right..... anyways! Everyone on the soup is here because we enjoy writing poetry and want feedback, we are searching for the comfort of belonging to a community of poets. STOP KIDDING YOURSELF!! This place is called "POETry Soup" We are not called "put a poem on here soup." below I read many comments and don't agree. I think many of us throughout this world are poets, with or without writing a poem. Nature is a poet herself, and without her many poems would not stand. Do you want to break Mother Natures heart, :-( :-( LOL Go and tell her she is no poet. So please POETS, stop breaking my heart ...

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    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/25/2013 2:34:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Tex, yes we write poetry but it doesn't answer the question of 'what makes a poet'?.....
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 5:18:00 PM
    dont know David, i started writing suddenly out of the blue over 30 years ago, and kept it a secret for about 5 years, then i wrote a poem about New Zealand's exploits in the 1982 soccer world cup, and had the manager of that team, who i knew have a look at it.. the next day it was all over, the national and local newspapers in the country, and had 5 minutes of fame,, but as being a poet, i've never thought about it, and i've never told anyone that is what i do either...still you have not got a answer your question,, well maybe we are all writers of poetry, and it is up to someone else to tell us,, if one studies poetry and writes it at oxbridge, maybe they are poets,

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:34:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Remember Harry, poetry can mean nothing at all to one person, However it can mean the world to another!
    horsman Avatar harry horsman Date: 3/24/2013 5:29:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    again i think opinions come in to it as well, there is such a lot of snobbery attach to poetry here in the uk, where as oz/nz one's ability to write something and to have it read was seen as a far better achievement, than here in the uk. mainly because the understanding across the culture is far more recognized in over there. so good question,
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 5:11:00 PM
    Well, I'm "in accord" with almost all of these opinions. Although I've been writing (or trying to write) poems for many years, I can't consider myself a poet. A poet must have a little bit of fire, of craziness, of discernment, of perception, of curiosity... A poet may be a thinker, a bohemian, a philosopher, an observant, a fighter ... a golfer! Why not? Have a nice evening!

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:25:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

  1. Date: 3/24/2013 4:59:00 PM
    I think I am destined to walk a lonely road, but I will continue to write poetry in my own way....I wake myself up in the middle of the night with a poem in my head and I have to go and write it down, I think in syllables, I speak in syllables, I analyse speech as I hear it... but I am not a poet!

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:27:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    LOL, Char
    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:26:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    you know what makes a drug addict a drug addict.. The need and feed of using drugs...
    Puddifoot Avatar Charlotte Jade Puddifoot Date: 3/24/2013 5:32:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    my diagnosis is that you are definitely a poet, david! what you're describing are all classic symptoms of the affliction lol
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 4:24:00 PM
    David, I'm far too long winded to fit my answer in here... lol... so UNpoetic, that is! Now, can I please post a response blog? I promise it does not contradict yours, is not mean spirited and if anything may have many of you thinking, oh yes, that IS me, to a T. Won't be able to do this till tomorrow night. Sunday nights are all for hubby :) PS-- this has been in me since I saw a comment from Tim (?) I think it was... hmmm... Tim? You out there? xox Cyndi Give a kiss to the Mrs., too!

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  1. Date: 3/24/2013 4:15:00 PM
    Craig, I attended a poetry evening a few weeks ago in aid of a local charity and read some of my work and a few days later I was walking through my village and i heard a lady behind me say to her to friend 'that's the poet we saw the other night' and it jarred with me as I do not call myself a poet , so I still ask the question 'what makes a poet' ....

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  1. Date: 3/24/2013 3:10:00 PM
    well, I think I've always been a writer because I started telling stories verbally at the age of three before I could even write and I wrote throughout my childhood and teens and had my first poem published at sixteen...poetry feels like an intrinsic part of me and I'm definitely someone who writes from the heart with flashes of inspiration that strike seemingly from nowhere; it's rare that I write purely as an 'exercise' which is why I struggle with contests - a lot of my poetry is quite autobiographical; I also struggle with depression which seems to be quite common amongst writers...interesting reading all the different responses from people!

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    Puddifoot Avatar Charlotte Jade Puddifoot Date: 3/24/2013 5:19:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    what turned me to writing poetry was reading the poetry of others and thinking to myself "I'm going to give that a try..." I think anybody who writes poetry is a poet; the question is: are they a good or a bad one? I suppose a true poet of the heart is someone who, whatever happens to them in life, feels an urge to pin it down on paper and create art from it...
    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/24/2013 4:06:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Charlotte i too had my first 'poem' published at 14 but what makes the difference between a writer and a poet?? what turned you into writing poetry??
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 2:36:00 PM
    Awww you guys... It's simple... To be a poet you have to be a little bit crazy... I think I fit that bill... LOL

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:45:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. BY:~~ Dead Poet's Society
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 2:33:00 PM
    hahaha, I liked Yasmin's definition best. Chris's is so altruistic and noble that I think it qualifies hardly any of us as poets. I have never considered myself a really true "poet", David. I am a writer of poetry, as Chris said. I do not go around having poetry come to me out of the breeze. Once in a blue moon I will feel compelled to write of something beautiful and it just comes to me. those times are rare, but I guess in those moments I can call myself "a poet of heart" I would say that I am a writer. I love to write. Poetry just became the best form for me to express myself socially and I think all of us here, in some way or another, are contributing to keeping poetry alive.

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:21:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Don't be so hard, and not consider yourself a true poet Miss Poet Queen Andrea-- A poet is someone who writes, and expresses him or herself, in any manner of art. Poetry is hard to explain, all we know,, how to express it with feelings and thoughts on paper
    Dietrich Avatar Andrea Dietrich Date: 3/24/2013 4:08:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I like what Suz said, if people are calling you a poet, go with it! I think there is no real answer, Craig. Many people are called teachers, but are all of them truly teachers? Well, you get my drift!
    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/24/2013 2:52:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Andrea I like this answer, though it still doesn't answer my question...
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 1:29:00 PM
    In my humble opinion, a poet is a poet when someone calls him that, because he had moved him with his words - it might have been a simple verse or a profound statement contained in many verses well crafted. Not all have the talent to reach other people with their words and often it expresses what someone has intrinsically felt, but have been unable to express in words. That is why some poems move us - that it often shapes our thinking. One such poem, is IF, which (although written for his son) has left a lasting impression on me. If a poem can articulate my emotions, then I have succeeded, otherwise I am just penning words which even I will soon forget. Your poetry touches people, David. Su

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:15:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    nicely said
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 12:11:00 PM
    What make us poets, are our experiences, our emotions, our personalities, our intellect, our being, our life, our heart, our soul...

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:13:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Nicely said Ruben... all it takes is believing...
    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/24/2013 12:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    or one who writes simply...
    Hernandez Diaz Avatar Ruben A. Hernandez Diaz Date: 3/24/2013 12:12:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Not everyone that simply writes, is a writer...
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 11:57:00 AM
    very interesting blog David and i guess Chris nailed it..Charma : )

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:43:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin. BY: ~Edmond de Goncourt
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 11:21:00 AM
    Neat blog, David. On the surface, the answers can seem easy enough for some, but I believe it goes deeper. There's an ancient Persian saying which claims that poets are the true historians -- they might not record all the events with exact detail, but instead, capture the Zeitgeist of an era(s). For a modern civilization to fully understand the past, archeological digs and perusing historical texts aren't enough; the art of the time period in question must be over-lapped to get a true understanding. To be a 'real' poet(beyond self-claim or appointed by peers)one must capture the Zeitgeist of a period....to be a true poet, one must live poetry. If you examine the great masters, none of them sat around just watching tv, or the equivalent according to era(not simply being a societal clone going through sequences of inanity only); they all partook in current events; they were movers and shakers in their every day lives(even if they didn't realize it at the time). Anyone with enough patience can mimic the 10 million poems already written, can practice metre and rhyme, etc....this doesn't necessarily make one a true poet, but a writer of poetry. Again, a poet in the purest sense(sure, anyone can claim the technical title in all fairness), lives poetry on a daily basis, lives beyond simply being a writer, by partaking in the shaping of the world itself. 'True' poets were already poets before ever writing their first poems.

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:48:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young. BY: ~Sainte-Beuve, Portraits littéraires, 1862
    Chircop Avatar Charmaine Chircop Date: 3/24/2013 11:55:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    another clap : )
    Williams Avatar David Williams Date: 3/24/2013 11:38:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Hi Chris you are confirming what I say and think, that a writer of poetry does not make one a poet..
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 3/24/2013 11:29:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Im clapping.
  1. Date: 3/24/2013 10:32:00 AM
    Hi David,I think you are a poet when you 'dare' to describe oneself as a poet.It takes courage and imagination to so do in this day and age.What 'makes' a poet is another question, possibly like any other art or craft there is an apprenticeship to serve.Rgds Brian

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    A   Avatar Poet Destroyer A Date: 3/24/2013 6:11:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Brian, the soup is one of the best place on the internet. And as a wanna be poet. I am happy here, and enjoy the feedback I get as a poet.

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