The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry

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The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry was a poetry anthology edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion, and published in 1982 by Penguin Books.

Shortly after publication, Morrison acknowledged criticism made towards the anthology, including that it was "merely 'fashionable'" and the "committee English" of its introduction.[1] Poets in the 1962 Al Alvarez anthology, The New Poetry, were excluded.[verification needed] The inclusion of Seamus Heaney (who, although born in Northern Ireland, held a Republic of Ireland passport) led to him to deliver a riposte in his poem, An Open Letter (1983)[2]:

"Don't be surprised if I demur, for, be advised
My passport's green.
No glass of ours was ever raised
To toast The Queen."

Poets included in the book were Anne Stevenson, Carol Rumens, Christopher Reid, Craig Raine, David Sweetman, Derek Mahon, Douglas Dunn, Fleur Adcock, Hugo Williams, James Fenton, Jeffrey Wainwright, Medbh McGuckian, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, Penelope Shuttle, Peter Scupham, Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin, and Tony Harrison.


  1. ^ Morrison, Blake. "Review: Or Am I Being Paranoid?". Poetry Magazines. Poetry Review. Retrieved March 11, 2018. 
  2. ^ Carruthers, Mark. "Seamus Heaney: 'If I described myself as an Ulsterman I'd have thought I was selling a bit of my birthright'". The Irish Times. Retrieved March 10, 2018.