James Fenton's An Introduction to English Poetry offers a master class for both the reader and writer of poetry. Simply and elegantly written and discussing the work of poets as wide ranging as W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Tennyson, Kipling, Milton and Blake, it covers all varieties of poetic practice in English.
'It is hard to imagine a beginner who could not learn from [this book]. If you know a young poet, give them this' The Times Literary Supplement
Until recently James Fenton was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. A former political journalist (he was south-east Asia correspondent for the Independent), he also served as drama critic for the Sunday Times for seven years, and writes regularly on artfor the New Yorker. He has published four books of poems in Penguin. He lives outside Oxford and in London.
The history and scope of English poetry; where music and poetry divide; the training of the poet; the sense of form; the iambic pentameter; variations in the line; patterns of stress; mysteries of the trochee; the genius of the trochee; the shorter lines; the iambic tetrameter; the longer lines; the shorter stanza; the longer stanza; the sonnet; minor forms; rhyme; syllabics; free verse; writing for the eye; poetic drama and opera.