A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves
as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a
writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.
Postmortal fictional portrait of Slovak poet
Janko Kráľ (1822-1876)
- an idealized romanticized picture of "how a real poet should look"
in Western culture.
Giacomo Leopardi was mentioned by the University of
Birmingham as "one of the most radical and challenging of
The work of a poet is essentially one of communication, either
expressing ideas in a literal sense, such as writing about a specific
event or place, or metaphorically. Poets have existed since antiquity,
in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary greatly in
different cultures and periods. Throughout each civilization and
language, poets have used various styles that have changed through the
course of literary history, resulting in a history of poets as diverse
as the literature they have produced.
3 See also
5 Further reading
6 External links
This is about the history of the poet profession. For a history of
poetry, see History of poetry
In Ancient Rome, professional poets were generally sponsored by
patrons, wealthy supporters including nobility and military
officials. For instance, Gaius Cilnius Maecenas, friend to Caesar
Augustus, was an important patron for the Augustan poets, including
Horace and Virgil.
Poets held an important position in pre-Islamic Arabic society with
the poet or sha'ir filling the role of historian, soothsayer and
propagandist. Words in praise of the tribe (qit'ah) and lampoons
denigrating other tribes (hija') seem to have been some of the most
popular forms of early poetry. The sha'ir represented an individual
tribe's prestige and importance in the Arabian peninsula, and mock
battles in poetry or zajal would stand in lieu of real wars. 'Ukaz, a
market town not far from Mecca, would play host to a regular poetry
festival where the craft of the sha'irs would be exhibited.
In the High Middle Ages, troubadors were an important class of poets
and came from a variety of backgrounds. They lived and travelled in
many different places and were looked upon as actors or musicians as
much as poets. They were often under patronage, but many travelled
Renaissance period saw a continuation of patronage of poets by
royalty. Many poets, however, had other sources of income, including
Italians like Dante Aligheri,
Giovanni Boccaccio and Petrarch's works
in a pharmacist's guild and William Shakespeare's work in the theater.
Romantic period and onwards, many poets were independent
writers who made their living through their work, often supplemented
by income from other occupations or from family. This included
poets such as
William Wordsworth and Robert Burns.
Poets such as
Virgil in the
John Milton in Paradise Lost
invoked the aid of a Muse.
Poets of earlier times were often well read and highly educated people
while others were to a large extent self-educated. A few poets such as
John Gower and
John Milton were able to write poetry in more than one
language. Some Portuguese poets, as Francisco de Sá de Miranda, wrote
not only in Portuguese but also in Spanish.
Jan Kochanowski wrote
in Polish and in Latin,
France Prešeren and Karel Hynek Mácha
wrote some poems in German, although they were poets of Slovenian and
Czech respectively. Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest poet of Polish
language, wrote a Latin ode for emperor Napoleon III. Another example
is Jerzy Pietrkiewicz, a Polish poet. When he moved to Great Britain,
he ceased to write poetry in Polish, but started writing novel in
English. He also translated poetry from English and into English.
Many universities offer degrees in creative writing though these only
came into existence in the 20th century. While these courses are not
necessary for a career as a poet, they can be helpful as training, and
for giving the student several years of time focused on their
List of poets
^ The Zibaldone project, University of Birmingham
^ Orban, Clara Elizabeth (1997). The Culture of Fragments: Word and
Images in Futurism and Surrealism. Rodopi. p. 3.
^ Barbara K. Gold, (2014) Literary and Artistic
Patronage in Ancient
Rome", University of Texas Press
^ Peter T. Murphy (2005) "
Poetry as an Occupation and an Art in
Britain" Cambridge University Press
^ Encyclopaedia Britanncia.
Jan Kochanowski at Catholic Encyclopaedia.
^ Karel Hynek Mácha: A leading poet of Czech Romanticism.
^ Nikki Moustaki (2001), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Poetry,
Reginald Gibbons (ed), The Poet's Work: 29 poets on the origins and
practice of their art. University of Chicago Press (1979).
ISBN 9780226290546 at Google Books
Look up poet or poetess in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Poets
Wikimedia Commons has media related to poets.
Lists of poets
Early-modern women (UK)
Poetry of different cultures and languages
Schools of poetry
Black Arts Movement
Black Mountain poets
Dolce Stil Novo
The poets of Elan
Generation of '27
Generation of the '30s
Generation of '98
New American Poetry
New York School
San Francisco Renaissance
Sons of Ben