Released on 02 October 2009.

Read extract

Answering Back

Living poets reply to the poetry of the past

3.84 based on 113 ratings & 12 reviews on


'Poetry, the poets here teach us, is language as life; not only a baton-like passing-on of tradition but a way of making the human immortal. With all their joys, jokes, passions, protests, loves and losses, the poems here prove that it is not only silence that poetry answers back'

Carol Ann Duffy has invited fifty of her peers to choose and respond to a poem from the past. With up-and-coming poets alongside more established names, and original poems alongside the new works they have inspired - Paul Muldoon, Vicki Feaver and U. A. Fanthorpe, for example, engage with classic works by poets such as Philip Larkin, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti - the result is a collection of voices that speak to one another across the centuries.

Teasing, subverting, arguing, echoing and - ultimately - illuminating, Answering Back is a vibrant, fascinating and timeless anthology, compiled by one of the nation's favourite poets.

‘Intriguing . . . Entertaining and stimulating’ Good Book Guide

‘A starry game of call and answer across poetic generations’ FT Magazine