… or Did You Just Make It up Yourself?
Robert Creeley – who lived from 1926 to 2005 and is shown in the weird photo above – wrote:
What is poetry? In a dictionary I’ve hauled around for almost as long as I’ve been writing (The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Fowler and Fowler, in a “New and Enlarged Edition revised by George Van Santvoord,” 1935), it says to my horror: “elevated expression of elevated thought or feeling, esp. in metrical form….” If I turn to a more recent dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1969, I’m told that poetry is “the art or work of a poet,” which has got to be a cop-out. So all these years people have been screaming that one was not writing real poetry – and it turns out nobody, certainly no one in that crowd, knew what it was to begin with. No wonder they insisted on those forms! They wouldn’t know it was a woman unless she was wearing a dress.
From: Robert Creeley, Was That a Real Poem & other essays, edited by Donald Allen, Four Seasons Foundation, Bolinas, California, 1979