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Table of Contents

Introduction 1: Truths universally acknowledged 2: Poetry's areas of authority and aptitude 3: The language of poetry and its particular devices 4: The kinds of poetry and their contexts 5: Poets and readers Conclusion Further Reading Index

About the Author

Bernard O'Donoghue is an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, where he taught Medieval English and Modern Irish Poetry. Also a poet and a literary critic, his poetry collection Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus, 1995) was awarded the 1995 Whitbread Poetry Award. He has authored and edited several titles, including The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney (CUP, 2008) and Reading Chaucer's Poems: A Guided Selection (Faber, 2015). In 2006, his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was published by Penguin.


...achieves an air of indispensability, as both a guidebook for the enquiring beginner, and as a handbook of poetic values for the determined practitioner. * Simon Armitage *
Everyone near the beginning of their life in poetry will want to have this book, and everyone further down the track will value it as a stimulation. * Andrew Motion *
A bold encounter with the questions that make his subject so compelling. * Professor Stephen Regan, Durham University *

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