The Artist: poet vs craftsman

There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman. – Emile Zola.
I am often asked how I started writing, why I write poetry and if I think that somebody can be taught how to write. Emile Zola’s quote above calls for an interesting discussion. What is the difference between the poet and the craftsman? Is there a difference?

The way I understand Zola’s words is that the poet has a natural affinity towards his craft; it is something he was seemingly born knowing how to do. Now that is not to say that I do not believe that people can be taught how to write, because they can. However I think that some people are born with a natural ability to be able to play with, craft and use words to create a whole other world. It is like people who can naturally sing versus the person who can only sing because they have been trained to do so. The trained singer just does not sound the same. The notes may be perfect, they understand rhythm and look great on stage but they just do not have it.

However the craftsman has to be taught. It is not a skill that he or she naturally knows how to do. The great thing is the poet also needs training and nurturing of their talents. Hence both the poet and the craftsman exist within the artist. Separating the two leads to shortcomings and I believe less chances of reaching the full potential. As artists we can often go wrong when we believe so much in our natural abilities that we are unwilling to learn from people and be taught how to take our crafts to the next level.

What are your opinions of the artist (writer, blogger, painter, dancer)?

Nissi x


About Plantain Periodicals

Hello! Welcome to the Plantain Periodicals blogs. The name stems from the kitchen moments I had with my friends at university cooking plantain and planning our lives together. I have used this space as a window into my mind and the way I make sense of all my experiences through writing.This is where I share those conversations and moments that happen inside my head as a young woman growing up in 21st century London. Hopefully you'll be entertained and also learn a thing or two. My main blog ad: My literature blog: NMx
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2 Responses to The Artist: poet vs craftsman

  1. We are all creative spirits. I believe we are gifted to create because we are made in God’s image, and He is the Creator of All Things. I am certain that we are given specific gifts — implanted as ‘divine DNA’, which is why we see some remarkable talent in very young children to write, paint, compose music, etcetera…as happened in the life of Akiane: I also believe that if we have an interest in something, we can discover gifts we don’t realize we have, and we can awaken the creative spirit within us through artistic expressions we’ve never dreamed of exploring.

  2. I would say you are a wonderfully organic writer and the kind I prefer. You prose has layers that I’m sure come from a faraway source that even you know not where.

    Keep writing is all I can say. Keep writing Nissi.

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