In 1979, Five American Poets helped to change our sense of American poetry, introducing the work of Robert Hass, John Matthias, James McMichael, John Peck and Robert Pinsky to British readers and writers. Now, in a much-changed landscape, this volume revisits that constellation of writers: what have they been up to since the 1970s; why have they become so important in energising the writing of their own country; and, what do they bring to us. They shared at Stanford University in California an apprenticeship in language as students of the poet-critic Yvor Winters. Associates since the 1960s, they never constituted a ‘movement’, but they have in common, in Clive Wilmer’s words, ‘a fundamental faith, tested to endurance by the politics of our era, that a common language implies a common society’. Five American Poets continues a conversation between these distinctive voices, from the colloquial ease of Robert Pinsky to the allusive discontinuities of John Matthias, from James McMichael’s narratives to the meditative textures created by John Peck and the sensuous immediacy of Robert Hass.