Love begets poetry; poetry begets love. So thinkers from Plato onwards have claimed; and even today, when poetry has largely disappeared from the mainstream of popular culture, it is still commonly considered the most seductive of all forms of art. But why should this be? What are the connections between poetry and love that lead us to associate them so strongly with one another? In this study Erik Gray draws on a broad range of Western thought and poetry to reveal the qualities and structures that love and poetry share. Above all, he argues, both are founded on paradox. Love is at once necessarily public (because interpersonal) and intensely private; hence love both requires expression and resists it. Likewise the experience of love is simultaneously surprising and familiar, singular and conventional. In poetry, especially lyric poetry - which is similarly both dependent on and resistant to language, both exceptionally regular and exceptionally irregular - love finds a natural outlet. The Art of Love Poetry illuminates many of the recurrent tropes that poets across the centuries have employed to represent and express love, exploring such topics as the poetic kiss, the lyric of conjugal love, and the role of animals in love poetry. In describing the inherent erotics of poetry, it offers new insights not only into the long tradition of love lyric but into the nature of love itself.