Focusing on the relation of the poet to the reader, Carl Dennis proposes that poems are acts of persuasion and that the strength of a poem's speaker is the key to winning the reader's sympathetic attention. Dennis identifies the qualities of passion, discrimination, and inclusiveness as essential in creating a compelling speaker. This emphasis on character leads to fresh discussions of point of view, irony, myth, and genre. Each subject is developed through careful readings of a wide variety of poets―from Whitman and Dickinson to contemporaries. Lucidly written, Poetry as Persuasion offers both inspiration and important advice for practicing poets, and at the same time provides anyone with an interest in poetry a fresh understanding of its appeal.