Friday, May 01, 2020

Extended senses of "poet" and "poetry"

In the New York Review of Books, not only does Susan Tallman refer to Gerhard Richter as "contemporary art's great poet of uncertainty", she also quotes a 1989 review in the Washington Post: "Richter wars on poetries." Despite its loss in cultural status, poetry remains a model for other art forms, and even quite far from art (as with an athlete's "poetry in motion"). But according to the OED, the extended use of "poet" appeared in1839, and the extended use of "poetry" even goes back to 1654. So "poet" and "poetry" gained their extended meanings when poetry still had a higher status, and those senses have remained in use even today.  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 May)
OED, poet 3b:  In extended use: an imaginative practitioner of any of the fine arts; a person working with creativity and imagination in any art form. (earliest example in 1839)
poetry, 6a: Something comparable to poetry in its beauty or emotional impact; a poetic quality of beauty and intensity of emotion; the poetic quality of something. (earliest example in 1654)

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