"of or pertaining to poetry; of or pertaining to poets," 1520s, from poet + -ic, or else from or influenced by French poetique (c. 1400), from Latin poeticus, from Greek poiētikos "pertaining to poetry," literally "creative, productive," from poiētos "made," verbal adjective of poiein "to make" (see poet). Related: Poetics "branch of criticism which treats of the nature and laws of poetry" (1727); poetically (early 15c.).
By 1854 as "endowed with the feeling or faculty of a poet; poetically beautiful or elevated." The earlier adjective was poetical (late 14c.); also obsolete poetly (mid-15c.). Coleridge used poematic (c. 1819), from Greek poiēmatikos.
Poetic justice "ideal distribution of rewards and punishments as portrayed in poems, plays, and stories (but seldom existing in reality)" is from 1670s. Poetic license "privilege or liberty taken by a poet in using words, phrases, or matters of fact in order to produce a desired effect" is from 1733, earlier as lycence poetycall (1530).