In Poetic Closure, distinguished literary scholar Barbara Herrnstein Smith explores the provocative question: How do poems end? To answer it, Smith examines numerous individual poems and examples of common poetic forms in order to reveal the relationship between closure and the overall structure and integrity of a poem. First published in 1968, Smith’s book remains essential reading in poetic theory.

“Ranging from Elizabethan lyric through free and syllabic verse and concrete poetry, Poetic Closure is a learned, witty, and richly illustrated study of the behavior of poems. . . . It can be read, enjoyed, studied by people who like reading poetry, including—I would suspect—poets.”—Richard M. Elman, New York Times Book Review