John Skelton and Poetic Authority is the first book-length study of Skelton for almost twenty years, and the first to trace the roots of his poetic theory to his practice as a writer and translator. It demonstrates that much of what has been found challenging in his work may be attributed to his attempt to reconcile existing views of the poet's role in society with discoveries about the writing process itself. The result is a highly idiosyncratic poeticsthat locates the poet's authority decisively within his own person, yet at the same time predicates his 'liberty to speak' upon the existence of an engaged, imaginative audience. Skelton is frequently treated as a maverick, but this book places his theory and practice firmly in the context of later sixteenth aswell as fifteenth-century traditions. Focusing on his relations with both past and present readers, it reassess his place in the English literary canon.