What is a Poet?


“Equality in gift of soul and gift of language–that’s what a poet is. So there are no poets who don’t write and no poets who don’t feel. If you feel but don’t write, you’re not a poet (where are the words?). If you write but don’t feel, you’re not a poet (where is the soul?) Where is the essence? Where is the form? Same thing. Indivisibility of essence and form–that is a poet. Naturally I prefer somebody who feels but doesn’t write, to someone who writes but doesn’t feel. The first may be a poet tomorrow. or tomorrow’s saint. Or a hero. The second (the verse-writer) is nothing at all. And his name is legion.”

—Marina Tsvetaeva: Art In The Light of Conscience, 1932

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