The Lyric Touch gathers John Wilkinson's essays on British and American poetry of the late twentieth century and on poetics, several of them referenced in standard works despite being hard to obtain. It includes his important essays on J.H. Prynne, John James, Tom Raworth, Barry MacSweeney and Denise Riley together with a lucid account of the formation of the 'Cambridge School', and a substantial introduction to the American lyric poet John Wieners. The book also discusses major writers such as Mina Loy, Lynette Roberts, Robert Creeley, Frank O'Hara, Ted Berrigan, Marjorie Welish and Andrea Brady. Finally it includes Wilkinson's most significant theoretical statements, 'Cadence', 'The Metastases of Poetry', 'Mouthing Off' and 'Following the Poem', the last including detailed readings of P.B. Shelley and Paul Celan. John Wilkinson's prose entices the reader into engaging with some of the most demanding and rewarding poetry of the past fifty years, and connects it persuasively with a radically excessive strain in Romantic English lyric.For this book, the vectors of excess are marked as information (as in Prynne), language (as in Raworth), self-consciousness (as in Riley) and feeling (as in Wieners). All distinguish lyric poetry as an art from other linguistic transactions while it remains humanly recognisable. This separation and recognition are understood throughout as the basis for a politics. The Lyric Touch will be invaluable for anyone interested in recent British and American poetry, as well as enthusiasts for John Wilkinson's own poetry.