It’s appropriate that Heidegger’s language takes on such a poetic quality at this point, for the next term he will introduce is poeisis, the Greek word from which our word “poetry” is derived. For the Greeks, Heidegger tells us, poeisis, is intimately related to “being responsible” in the sense he has just discussed.

Poeisis means “bringing forth.” Heidegger distinguishes between two forms of bringing forth. The first is directly associated with poeisis, as it is the bringing forth into existence that the craftsperson and the poet (and anyone who produces things) practice. The products of this activity are brought forth by something else [en alloi—“in another”], that is, the poet makes the poem, the craftsperson makes the wood carving, etc. The second is physis, the bringing forth that occurs in nature, in which things such as flowers are brought forth in themselves {en heautoi]. Both instances, however, fall into the category of poeisis in the sense that something that was not present is made present.

Heidegger states the idea of bringing forth again in slightly different terms: “Bringing-forth brings out of concealment into unconcealment” (293). This image of poeisis as a kind of revealing leads him to yet another Greek word: aletheia, which literally means “unveiling” or “revealing.” It is also the Greek word for “truth.”

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