For all the disciplined artifice of Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery, the essays in this collection show that panic plays a crucial role in their work, giving substance to Bishop's claim that "an element of mortal panic and fear" underlines all art. Panic emerges as a condition of creative anxiety and the self-imposed demands of originality in response to the poetic traditions Bishop and Ashbery inherited. These concerns are explored in essays addressed to Bishop and Ashbery's engagement with European Surrealism as an alternative to the dominant poetics of Modernism and its aftermath in the middle years of the twentieth century. Other essays debate the philosophical, religious, and political orientation of their work in relation to Romantic orthodoxies and Postmodern ironies in terms of cultural history, ideology and poetic practice. This collection provides original commentaries on the work of two poets widely regarded as amongst the most significant American poets of the second half of the twentieth century with essays by notable scholars from the United States and Britain known for their special interests in modern poetry including Joanne Feit Diehl, Mark Ford, Edward Larissy, Peter Nicholls, Peter Robinson, Thomas Travisano, Cheryl Walker and Geoff Ward.