Book Description: Why should a poet feel the need to be original? What is the relationship between genius and apprenticeship? James Fenton, Oxford Professor of Poetry 1994-1999 and winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, examines some of the most intriguing questions behind the making of the art - issues of creativity and the 'earning' of success, of judgement, tutorage, rivalry, and ambition. With the contextual richness of a former foreign-correspondent, Fenton goes on to consider the juvenilia of Wilfred Owen, the 'scarred' lines of Philip Larkin, the inheritance of imperialism, and issues of 'constituency' in Seamus Heaney. He looks too at Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, and their contrasting 'feminisms', at D. H. Lawrence, 'welcoming the dark'; and in the end, W. H. Auden - that defining influence upon Fenton's own poetry - who receives extended coverage in the final quarter of the book. Immensely readable, The Strength of Poetry is a major account of modern poetry from one of its leading figures.