The poet, who has mastered the entire creative spectrum from poetry to short stories and narratives to drama and theater and thus influences language and society, as was pronounced in classical literature around 1800, is an ideal in which Reality but a rare exception.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term found preference in German over that of the poet , who from then on stood for the ridiculed lover of verse, the "Kauz", who was ignored by the modern market. In contrast to him, the “poet” was the author of high literature who, in the emphases of Sturm und Drang , romanticism and nationalism of the 19th and early 20th centuries , was stylized as a seer , genius and, in the most outstanding case, spiritual leader of the nation. Text producers without this claim were merely “ writers ” who lived from their writing in the sense of a (manual) occupation, while the poet would ultimately be recognized and live from the appreciation that the nation gave him. The establishment of poetry prizes and poetry readings by the Prussian, now the German Academy for Language and Poetry, corresponds to this understanding of the term.
In the course of the 20th century, the term “poet” lost its rank compared to the terms “ author ” and “writer”. This resulted from a concentration of the literary field on popular categories such as fiction, crime fiction, stage literature and, indirectly, from technical developments that enabled higher and inexpensive editions of books (later also distribution through radio, film and television) - formats in which the The personality of the author (in contrast to classic formats of the lecture and the reading by the author) took a back seat. The term was further used only for authors of poems and linguistically demanding texts who are largely outside the (commercial) market; But even in this use it is mainly to be found today with historical authors (for example with Rainer Maria Rilke , less so with Paul Celan and rarely with Durs Grünbein ).
- Gunter E. Grimm: poet pictures. Strategies of literary self-presentation. (PDF file; 875 kB)