One who snatches ideas, concepts, feelings, and/or, but not limited to, emotions out of the collective unconscious or the mouths of the ancestors, or the strange befuddled linebacker at the next table in the restaurant AND has the nerve to use a form which compiles language in such a manner as to allow others to glean the essence of a moment in time and space.

A person who tries to communicate thoughts, feelings, and memories through literary, artistic forms. Poets may choose to write in iambic pentameter, lyric verse, blank verse, prose poetry, haiku, or many other formats.

Once upon a time, poets could make a living by writing poetry -- nowadays, most publications that print poetry pay nothing, so the only reward most poets get is the joy and satisfaction of writing well. Sometimes, that's enough.

(still won't feed the kids, though...)

Poets are usually tragic figures and are rarely hopeless romantics. Even during the time of the "romantic" poets much of the poetry was of despair and self loathing. Also readers of poetry don't relive the poets experiences rather a poem triggers in them emotions that have been forged before hand. A good poet tries to appeal to a reader's sensibilities. A great poet lets the readers sensibilities run freely after only a few words of provocation.

s/he who lays down words and encourages them to ... do things. There are lots of things to do that do not involve 'the expression of emotions', necessarily, although certainly much great poetry has appeared along those lines.

Poet is the alias of John Simon, a character in J. Michael Straczynski's comic Rising Stars, published by Top Cow Productions.
He is the last survivor of the so-called Specials, and he is the narrator of the Rising Stars story.

John Simon was the last of the Specials to be conceived. As a child he was very quiet and serious. He has written several books and poems, some of which got published, but which weren't very popular. He has the ability to manipulate electric energy, which allows him to control electronic devices. What makes him more dangerous to the other Specials is that he has control over the power that grants all the other Specials special powers, which he uses to protect the world from other Specials, when they get out of control.

I am not a poet,
no artist, me -
I just …


I write for the guilty pleasure
it gives, for the
furtive delight of fingers sliding
over keys, the first spreading stain
on pristine white.

I write for the ultimate
birth of my babies.

I deliver them,
some in long and painful labour, others
in swift oblivion.

I pause, for a while, like any mother
to admire their beauty,
their clear, prodigious intelligence.
I marvel, smugly, at the miracle
I have produced.

It doesn’t last. When I glance
again each has grown
imperfect. This one needs discipline,
its many faults need stern schooling,
while that one needs tender encouragement
to shine.

Amongst the brood, Siamese twins,
together, halting and deformed -
crying out for separation. I wield
the knife and free them.

I herd them, chide them,
nurse them all, (Except for that
one dark changeling, glowering.
Surely it can’t be one of mine?
Tuck it away, quickly, out
of sight – what would the
neighbours say?).

And then, I let them go. Let them
struggle alone through approbation or
despite; Mother is engaged in a
new seduction, deflowering another
virgin page.


I write.
Where's the Poet? Show him! show him,
Muses nine, that I may know him!
'Tis the man who with a man
  Is an equal, be he king,
Or poorest of the beggar-clan,
  Or any other wondrous thing
A man may be 'twixt ape and Plato.
  'Tis the man who with a bird,
Wren or eagle, finds his way to
  All its instincts. He hath heard
The lion's roaring, and can tell
  What his horny throat expresseth,
And to him the tiger's yell
  Comes articulate and presseth
On his ear like mother-tongue.

      --John Keats

This is a concept I've been thinking about for a while now. Keats seems to be suggesting that a poet is one who truly understands the world and his environment. He is equal to a king, and he is (somehow) also equal to a beggar. It is as if the poet is not a part of humanity, but stands next to it, observing it from the outside. I place myself here, next to a king, and for a while I will be his equal. But I don't think that this is the proper interpretation. I don't think that Keats was saying that poets are outside of humanity, or if he was, then he didn't believe that for long. I think that when Keats says, "is an equal," what he means is, "knows about." The poet understands the king and the beggar (and the eagle and the lion.) The poet is not outside or alongside humanity. The poet is humanity, and can understand humanity at every level. Further, the poet also understands nature. He knows the eagle, and he knows the lion and the tiger. Notice that the poet is the equal of a man, but "finds his way" to the wren. Humanity the poet understands as part of himself, but nature the poet reads as his "mother-tongue."

I think (and I very well could be wrong) that the poet is the one who understands Beauty. By Beauty I don't mean some subjective aren't-those-pretty-roses beauty, but some kind of overarching thing, like Pirsig's Quality in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I think there might actually be something like this, that can be found in the world and is expressed by poetry. And I think the poet is the one who perceives it.

CST Approved

Ode to a Poetry Slam Loser

I am just a Slam kill, I am lame.
The poems of my rivals have put me to shame.
I've never gotten anywhere up on that stage.
Think I'd be more successful at my age.

Met a man named Able, he drove an oil rig
kept a girl in every state,
but he swore he was no pig.
He said that love's for pleasure,
then there's doin' it for fun
his piece was not his mistress
he was married to his gun.
He swore he'd burned a dozen men
and never shed a tear
that the only man worth killing
is the man who shows his fear.
He drove that oil rig with such madness
it's a shame.
I couldn't say I'm sorry, though,
I guess that's not my game.

He asked, "Well, what do you do, Cane?"
I said that I write verse.
He shouted, "Boys what have we here?
Some fag forgot his purse!"
They took me to the moon shine
I saw immortal heights
I'd walk down there among you
but the noose is much too tight.
I saw the face of Shakespeare
when they hanged me from that tree
Phyllis Wheatley, Dryden, Pope, John Donne,
and then in my heart
I saw the shimmering image
of the poet with a thousand names.

But alas, I am just a Slam kill,
my God I am so lame.
It's strange they call me "Cane"
the one I carry is no prop
it gets me where I'm going
without it
I'm so lame I'd have to hop.

Po"et (?), n. [F. poete, L. poeta, fr. Gr. , fr. to make. Cf. Poem.]

One skilled in making poetry; one who has a particular genius for metrical composition; the author of a poem; an imaginative thinker or writer.

The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven. Shak.

A poet is a maker, as the word signifies. Dryden.

Poet laureate. See under Laureate.


© Webster 1913.

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