Two of the most distinguished poets in US and UK literature shared a stage at Edge Hill University for the first time in one of the highlights of the UK’s literary calendar.

UK and US poets laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and Billy Collins performed their work together to a packed audience as part of the University’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

The first Scottish, female poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy read iconic poem Little Red Cap from her famous collection The World’s Wife, as well as performing more recent works such as Cold, a poem about her mother’s death five years ago, as well as a poem penned to lambast Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney’s recent wage demands on his club.

In contrast, Billy Collins, who has served two terms as US poet laureate from 2001 to 2003, and is famous for humour and irony in his work, performed poems from a forthcoming collection Horoscopes for the Dead, with a hilarious take on the life of a pet dog who hates his owner and an ode to jazz singer Johnny Hartman.

Collins has been called “The most popular poet in America” by the New York Times and recognition includes several awards from US magazine Poetry, fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of Edge Hill University said: “Tonight the University has welcomed two of the most iconic poets from both sides of the Atlantic and we feel very lucky and privileged to have them perform their works here at Edge Hill University.”