A book that conveys the intense excitement and mystery of poetry, by a man who is at ease with and still fascinated by it. The book is divided into two parts: an essay on the means of poetry in which a Chinese poet sets forth several lovely and concise rules, and through various poems, an examination is made of how words work -- or fail to work- in conveying the meaning of poetry; and a close look at four contrasting poets, (Dickinson, Yeats, Rimbaud, and Keats). An emphasis on the intangible meanings implied in words, and seen above form, makes this criticism unusual. Of the four poets. Yeats and Keats appear to be MacLeish's favorites, yet Dickinson and Rimbaud emerge more clearly.