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The Poem attempts to answer several questions: what is a poem? In what way is its use of language distinct? What conditions allow it to arise, and what is its cultural purpose? And how, exactly, do poems work? Part polemic, part technical treatise and part meditation, The Poem is an ambitious contemporary ars poetica. Paterson looks at the writing, transmission and reading of poetry with wit and scholarly flair, drawing together literary analysis, linguistics, metaphysics, psychology and cognitive science in a thorough exploration of how and why poems are composed. The Poem takes the form of three long essays. 'Lyric' attends to the music and sound patterns of poetry, and the way in which they work to deepen poetic sense; 'Sign' develops a new theory of metaphor, metonym and symbol, and looks at how ideas of 'meaning' change under poetic conditions; 'Metre' addresses poetry's relationship to time and to the rhythms of speech, then builds a theory of prosody from the ground up, proposing some radical correctives to existing metrical theory along the way. Through his various professional guises - as major prize-winning poet, as Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews and as Poetry Editor at Picador Macmillan - few are better placed to grant this insider's perspective. For all those intrigued by the inner workings of the art form and its fundamental secrets, The Poem will challenge, intrigue and surprise.
About the Author
Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. His previous poetry collections include Nil Nil, God's Gift to Women, Landing Light, Rain and 40 Sonnets. He has also published two books of aphorisms, as well as translations of Antonio Machado and Rainer Maria Rilke. His poetry has won many awards, including the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, all three Forward Prizes, and the T. S. Eliot Prize on two occasions. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2009. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the English Association and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and teaches at the University of St Andrews, where he is Professor of Poetry. Since 1997 he has been Poetry Editor at Picador Macmillan. For many years he has also worked as a jazz musician and composer. He lives in Edinburgh.