What is a poem? In what way is its use of language distinct? What conditions allow it to arise, and what is its cultural purpose? And how, exactly, do poems work? Part polemic, part technical treatise and part meditation, The Poem is an ambitious contemporary ars poetica. Paterson looks at the writing, transmission and reading of poetry with wit and scholarly flair in a thorough exploration of how and why poems are composed. Paterson was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and is garlanded with awards for his many collections, which include Nil Nil, God’s Gift to Women, Rain and 40 Sonnets.