The Creation Questions and Answers
by James Weldon Johnson

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How is the God of the poem in Johnson's "The Creation" like a poet? What kind of things make good poets and draw people to them?

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The God in the poem and the poet are both creators. They share traits that make them good creators and these traits draw people to them. 

First, God enjoys the creative process. We see God "smile" as he creates light and, as he makes more and more things, he says "That good!" repeatedly with evident relish.

Second, a good poet thinks. After God has created the earth and the creatures, which he loves, he is still lonely, so he "thought and thought  ... [and] thought ... ." The three repetitions of thought in the stanza indicate how important thought is, and after thinking hard, God makes "man."

Third, God, like the good poet, gets his hands dirty: God physically engages in the creative process. He looks, he sees, he walks. The word "looked" is repeated multiple times in the poem. God walks around the world he has created and looks and looks and looks, just as a poet looks and looks at the poem he has created. He is intimately involved in his creation. In other words, God, like a good poet, doesn't just dream up ideas while off in a room or an ivory tower. God "stepped over" to the world's edge and "spat" out the seven seas and "clapped" his hands to make thunder, only to be rained on. He is involved.

God, like the good poet, can be commanding--"he lit" the sun and "flung" the stars, both acts of creative grandeur--but he also is humble. When he makes man, we are told twice that he "kneeled" in the clay and the dust. Like a good poet, he "toiled" over this very special creation. Also like a good poet, he nurtured his creation, "like a mammy bending over her baby." 

Like a good poet, through delight, through toil, through both a sense of grandeur and humility, through love and involvement and nurture, God creates a soul. We are drawn to the good poet, the poem implies, because he too, like God creating the universe, has invested so much of himself into the poem.

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