Seamus Heaney with his family and at a party at home in Dublin, 1979. Photo: Bobbie Hanvey

Twenty-six years ago, three American poets—I was one of them—put together The New Poets of England and America. We paired poets of the two countries in one alphabetical order, as if “England and America” shared a common enterprise. No longer would anthologists suggest such a thing. Of the twenty poets in this new Penguin Contemporary British Poetry1—aged thirty-two to fifty—only Seamus Heaney is known in the United...

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