Book Summary: 'Poetic speech is a pearl, connected to the king's ear.' This statement gestures to words as objects of material value sought by those with power and resources. I provide a sense for the texture of the Persian world by discussing what made poetry precious. By focusing on reports on poets' lives, I illuminate the social scene in which poetry was produced and consumed. The discussion elicits poetry's close connections to political and religious authority, economic exchange, and the articulation of gender. At the broadest level, the study substantiates the interdependency between cultural and material reproduction of society.