What is a poem? What can it do? How does a poet know when a poem is finished? Can poetry be taught? How can we tell if a poem is any good? What is it like to share the breakfast table with a poet? How political should a poem be? Are there actually "shoulds" and "should nots" in poetry? Through quotations which are themselves as pithy and memorable as good poetry, hundreds of poetry readers, poetry practitioners and poetry sceptics have their say in this rumbustious and instructive book. Their comments are arranged by subject-matter and juxtaposed to allow sparks to fly - if one poet swears black, another is sure to swear white; and their viewpoints are encapsulated in terse and trenchant language. Offering fascinating insights into the mindsets and dress codes of poets, their lusts and lives, hates and loves, as well as taking readers to the heart of the creative process itself, "The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations" is an ideal book for teachers, students, reading groups, workshops and anyone interested in poetry - whether as casual readers, seasoned writers, curious onlookers or aspiring practitioners. Books about poetry are rarely as entertaining or rewarding as this: an entirely original compilation, drawing exclusively on remarks made over the past 20 years. With its wealth of contemporary maxims, witticisms and jibes, it provides a definitive snapshot of the current state of poetry - the art defined here by Seamus Heaney as 'language in orbit'.