I find a lot to argue with in Hannah's post, "Poets vs. Critics." I suppose one might look at the following comments as an instance of the poet trying to take a critic to task. But in fact I want to attack the distinction, and not the critic at all.
I approach from two angles. First I want to claim that every good poem and every good work of art practices criticism – not of itself (so the poet is not necessarily a literary critic) but of some feature or bug of the world itself: a structure, a pattern, a piece of chaos, a failure. Second, I suggest that poetry is something other than all the things that are poems, taken collectively.
We speak of poetry in physical movement, in the changing of the seasons, and in a thousand other places. Poetry is not poems, though good poems are usually poetry. Think of poetry as a quality of grace; think of poetry as a kind of victory; think of poetry as a lovely mixture of critical and aesthetic focus – critical and aesthetic success.
That is poetry.