A stunning volume of epic breadth which connects the lives and works of over 300 English-language poets of the last 700 years. LIVES OF THE POETS traverses the landscapes of biography, form, cultural pressures and important historical moments to tell not just a history of English poetry, but the story of English as a language. 'Astonishing' New York Times. 'Deft critical judgements, lightness of touch, the ability both to examine minutely and to generalize boldly - this book is both a tonic and a continuing pleasure' Independent. 'A celebration of poetry in the shape of a history from Chaucer up to the present day. A book to put into the hands of any young man or woman beginning to be aware that poetry is the glory of our language' Scotsman. 'A masterly exercise of cogency and compression' Times Literary Supplement.