In an email, David Hess replied to the previous posting here to say that his distinction between knowing/being was partly an echo of DH Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature. He said he was thinking more of the way some Modernists set themselves up (say in epic forms) as guides to general knowledge (Pound, Olson), in a way that poets of "being" (say, Oppen, Celan) never would.
I responded to say that there might be some validity in this distinction; but that some strains of postmodernism, drawing from Heidegger & Derrida among others, make such a distincton impossible, since the status of both knowledge & being becomes "illegible". & that this might be one reason that, as DH wrote on his blog, the language poets, for example, couldn't decide between "system" & "anti-system".
It seems like down the ages very few poets have had the capability to articulate, in their own poetry, its epistemological status in relation to other forms of knowledge. How is poetry a form of knowing, if it is? One of the most interesting books I've read on this issue is Jerusalem & Albion, by Harold Fisch (Schocken Books, 1964). It might be that reflection on this issue (which is also the question of the nature of poetic speech) would be productive - lead to new understandings of the poet's role.
Of course, meditating on the nature of poetry has also been the yeast & the grist for everlasting cliches & sentimentalizations : what's unusual is a poet who can think philosophically or scientifically while writing poetry.