James at ursprache has a typically pithy post today on the nature of poetry. He writes, “It is often cited that the root of the word poetry comes from the Greek term poïesis meaning ‘to make.’ But make how? And make what? So much lies undisclosed in the concept of mere ‘making’.”
I couldn’t resist commenting, then thought I should share the response here as passable material for rumination:
“All creation or passage of non-being into being is poetry or making, and the processes of all art are creative; and the masters of arts are all poets or makers.”
“Very true,” [says Socrates].
“Still,” she said, “you know that they are not called poets, but have other names; only that portion of the art which is separated off from the rest, and is concerned with music and metre, is termed poetry, and they who possess poetry in this sense of the word are called poets.”
In all begetting and bringing forth upon the beautiful there is a kind of making or poiesis (“poetry” in the wide sense of “creating”). In this genesis … there is a movement beyond the temporal cycle of birth and decay…. Such a movement can occur in three kinds of poiesis: (1) Natural poiesis through sexual procreation, (2) poiesis in the city through the attainment of heroic fame and finally, and (3) poiesis in the soul through the cultivation of virtue and knowledge.
Poetry, if it is poetry, involves this third kind of making.