“From the first page, the reader of How to Read a Poem realises that this, at last, is a book which begins to answer Adrian Mitchell's charge: 'Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people'. Eagleton introduces himself as 'a politically minded literary theorist'. The remarkable achievement of this book is to prove that such a theorist is the only person who can really show what poetry is for. By a brilliant and scrupulous series of readings - of Yeats and Frost and Auden and Dickinson - framed in a lively account of the function of criticism as perhaps only he could expound it, Eagleton shows how literary theory, seriously understood, is the ground of poetic understanding. This will be the indispensable apology for poetry in our time.”
Bernard O'Donoghue, Wadham College, Oxford
"With energy and wit, Eagleton proves once and for all that close readers and theoretical readers should be partners rather than enemies." John Redmond, Liverpool University
"...lucid and engaging...Eagleton's book 'designed as an introduction to poetry for students and general readers', is a breath of fresh air." Marjorie Perloff, TLS, Books of the Year
“Eagleton raises many interesting points” Choice
“A how-to book with an agenda. Smart, witty and provocative ... How to Read a Poem challenges us not only to look again at poetic form, but also to bring aesthetics back into our discussions fo what makes a poem worth studying. We may not agree with Eagleton, but we would do well to accept his challenge."