The period from the Restoration to the 1750s sees the emergence of women as professional poets. This new collection of commissioned essays provides an overview of all aspects of women's poetic practice as they began their fraught negotiation of the public world of letters. Usefully divided into three sections, covering biographies of the leading poets, critical readings and cultural contexts, it discusses poets such as Aphra Behn, Anne Killigrew, Jane Barker, Mary Lady Chudleigh, Anne Finch, Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu and Mary Leapor. The essays address questions of social status and public image, the shift from manuscript to print, exploitation in the literary marketplace, the use of Classical and Biblical models, politics, satire, and the emergence of labouring-class women poets. Featuring original contributions from Margaret J. M. Ezell, Germaine Greer, Jennifer Keith, Claudia Thomas Kairoff, Kathryn E. King, Donna Landry, Rebecca M. Mills, Valerie Rumbold, Jane Spencer, Carol Shiner Wilson and Sue Wiseman, this new volume is the only critical anthology to address all aspects of women's poetry in this period.