Every poet has a characteristic tone of voice and his own rhythm. T. R. Barnes' chief interest is this 'sound poems make in the head' and his particular gift is to help us to hear what is going on in the individual poem and to catch the poet's individuality. We also hear how each poet develops the forms his predecessors have used. In this way, we move from a consideration of single voices to the development of particular forms (like the couplet or blank verse) and the characteristics of whole periods. This book, then, has several uses. While verse as sound is its main concern, it can be read as an introductory history of English verse from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Since Barnes quotes generously, he also provides as he goes along an unhackneyed anthology in chronological order. In addition, he comments in detail on many of the poems, so that the book is a demonstration of the methods and uses of practical criticism.