Poetry is a kind of lying,
necessarily. To profit the poet
or beauty. But also in
that truth may be told only so.

Those who, admirably, refuse
to falsify (as those who will not
risk pretensions) are excluded
from saying even so much.

Degas said he didn’t paint
what he saw, but what
would enable them to see
the thing he had.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Jack Gilbert's poem Poetry Is A Kind Of Lying


  1. Rob says:

    Yes, Gilbert rightly belongs in that brave category of poets who eschew ‘ancillary profit’; he is a true poet. And he reminds me of the desert mystic, his illusions burned clean, purified, with only the single last delusion left.

  2. Rao says:

    A wonderful poem! A person who does not lie, exaggerate or curry-flavour, has no choice but be silent!

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