not poet

Every poet must, I think, feel a bit uneasy when receiving honours, because he knows that like the label poet itself—even more so—they have nothing to do with being a poet and writing poetry. A poet is only a poet when he is writing poetry, and when his is writing poetry least of all does he know that he is a poet. In fact, usually the attempt to write poetry makes him painfully aware that he isn’t.

—Stephen Spender, Chaos and Control in Poetry (The Library of Congress, pamphlet, 1966)

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