The World's Most Innovative Poets (One Perspective) I was thinking today about compiling a list of poets I perceived to be the mostinnovative in the history of the art form. Of course, this is such an impossiblyhuge question, and one is always limited to a certain degree by which languagesbesides one's birth tongue one can truly read for nuance and subtlety (poetrytranslation is the original Bed of Procrustes) and how many thousands of books onehas time to consume. And then does one technically consider those writing at thedawn of poetic language innovators simply because they are entering unchartedwaters with the first metaphors, the first myths, the first narratives...basicallythe first lyric poetry?I just wanted to flesh out my particular view of things, which will most likelynot match up wholly with yours. But I would be interested in hearing where wematch and where we diverge.I was trying to focus here on poets I thought changed the poem itself, or somehowchanged our conception of the nature of poetry. This differs from my list of poetsI feel were the most important poets, or the greatest poets who ever lived.There's some overlap, but some of these poets I see more as innovators who weremore important for opening doors than for what they actually wrote (Simias or evenKhlebnikov, say, arguably could fall into this category). I consider WallaceStevens one of the twentieth century's greatest poets, for example, but don't feelhe merits inclusion on this list of innovators of form or innovators of what is"permissible" in poetry.Anyway, if you'd like to comment feel free. I'd love to hear your input...butplease give at least a hint of a reason for your particular additions orsubtractions. :-)Here's my list, and yes I realize how Eurocentric this is. Give me some of thegreat Asian and Indian writers I missed. Yes, the Mahabharata, that longitudinallyconstructed masterpiece, obviously...but what or who else? I read the list ofNobelist poets and couldn't justify a single one as an innovator of form (andplease don't say Tagore! yuck! lol)....I have added a number after each author, ranging from one to three: one indicatesinnovation with moderate impact formalistically, NOT overall cultural or cross-cultural impact, obviously. This speaks purely to how much future writersrecognizably use this author's modifications to the poem itself; two indicatesbroad impact formalistically, significantly increased influence on future writers;three indicates an author who revolutionized form and whose influence ispervasive. Yes, this is a whim. It amused me to do so. Let's play.No particular order here....1. Simias of Rhodes/Theocritus of Syracuse...for being two of the earliestidentifiable innovators in concrete poetry. Not exactly the most influentialchange in the art form, but a substantial move in the direction of how submissivethe medium could be, and a strange sort of reverse-abstraction process. (1)2. Shakespeare. The Sonnets are just one facet of a mind that exploited everyrhetorical device in the book, and then invented others that the masters ofantiquity had not conceived. Minting the English language anew as he went, he isof course a titan and yes I Eurocentrically place him here. (1) Should I placeRacine here? I haven't read enough of the French Shakespeare to speak confidentlyof his place. Sue me.