For Aristotle as well as most classical writers, mimesis was a central concept, meaning "to copy" or "to imitate." The Classicists saw the world as a reflection. While Plato disapproved of poets because they imitated the imitation (the ideal world and the physical world) and further corrupted reality, Aristotle saw the poets as providing a valuable imitation because they could make works that provided pleasure, such as a great poem (the Iliad and the Odyssey) or a wonderful drama. So to Ari the poet starts by imitating, but produces interest and pleasure by creating great characters and story lines (as in Oedipus).
According to Aristotle the poets were not blind imitators but imaginative imitators. They recreated the reality using imagination but without distorting the truth inorder to generate the element of pleasure in the readers. Thus poets are imitators as well as creators at the same time.