“Poetry and Poetics” emerges from a series of conferences with special emphasis on the topic of “the social life of poetic language.” This issue stresses that academic theorizing misrepresents the function and nature of poetry. It explores a range of methods and topics instead to redirect contemporary theories and criticisms of poetry and poetics. Topics include lengthy engagements with translation, the poetic in the social world, the new formal imperatives of poetry, and the relation between human and animal over the threshold of word and body. The contributors consider the issues of contemporary poetry from the long perspective of active poetics, a post-Romantic notion with origins in the long eighteenth. century. They show the need for a critical historical practice that understands and promotes the transformative action of poetics.