"That contemporary art seems to be anything an artist wants it to be can lead to a lot of confusion, most notably, the willy-nilly application of the term to anything with a creative impulse." (Italics mine)
This quote from The Christian Science Monitor brings me back to another look at my criticism of much current poetry and workshops. We tend to call anything creative "art" whether it is or not and this diminishes art. Poetry is an art and is much more than merely creative.
Workshop leaders fawn over any creative phrase, turn, even titles. Yes, such creativity is praiseworthy but the risk is that the writer and other observers are so easily led to think that this makes their work art when it qualifies for artsy, at best. Creativity can bring many of us up to mediocrity but alone cannot bring us to the level of artist. Craftsmanship can bring many of us up to mediocrity but alone cannot bring us to the level of artist. Creativity and craftsmanship together do not guarantee art but come closer.
To get to art we must add divine madness-- inspiration and inspired engagement with creativity and craft. All these come with work, lots of work, lots of hard work and this work should be bereft of the notion of art. The art will take care of itself but we and our workshop leaders are well-advised to be familiar enough with what art is to caution us not to believe that our work is art when it is not. We will thus raise our sights and better our work.
And by the way, divine madness without creativity and craft is only madness.
So long for now.