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Poetry, Poets, Readers is a defence of poetry against the protective moves which claim that poets never lie because they never affirm, or that their poems exist in a separate 'world'. These much re-iterated manoeuvres for safe-guarding poetry by banishing it from an active role in life can paradoxically go hand in hand with a poet's yearning for the authority of a legislator. Through detailed considerations of poetry by Shakespeare, Keats, Yeats, Auden,
Elizabeth Bishop, and Paul Muldoon, along with sustained meditations on question forms in poems, the role of fact in fictions, the nature of literary value, speech acts and performative utterances issued by poets, the book sets out a fresh model for relationships between poetry, poets, and readers - one which
allows the historical fact of poems having made things happen to be itself happening.
Peter Robinson, himself an award-winning poet, explores what we do by imagining when we read or write poems. In describing how poetry, poets, and readers make things happen the poet offers us an invitation and implies a promise. Taking up the one, we find out how to keep the other.
Peter Robinson is Lecturer in English at Tohoku University, Japan, and author of five volumes of poetry, the most recent of which is About Time Too (2001).