Including essays on Browning, Ruskin, Stevens, Heaney, and others, this volume begins with an argument that poetry has a job to do: it is one of man's basic tools for keeping himself in touch with the world. The next essay confronts one of the enduring problems of interpretation: how do you know your interpretation is "correct"? Other essays represent different approaches to literature that add to the reader's understanding of the texts. They attempt to sort out dramatic relationships, clarify the role of imagery, identify prosodic accomplishments, or understand the reasons for poet's revisions of his manuscript. Two of the essays discuss the critical methods of two famous 19th-century critics, Poe and Ruskin.