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100 Best Poets of All Time

A Collection of the Best Poets of All Time as selected by PoetrySoup members. List of the 100 best famous poets in history with their best poetry.

Using the term "best poets" is probably not the most accurate description of this page. The list on this page is determined by website visitors with a western bent. Also, they are probably skewed to more modern poets. Nevertheless, you should be able to find the famous poet you are looking for here.

Links to the famous poet's biography, poems, short poems, best poems, and quotes can be found next to the poet's name. Share your comments on this list.... See our Most Popular Famous Poet's page (with rankings).

 Famous PoetBrief Bio
Lascelles Abercrombie
Abercrombie, Lascelles

Lascelles Abercrombie (1881–1938), English poet and literary critic, one of the " Dymock poets "

Sarah Fuller Flower Adams
Adams, Sarah Fuller Flower

Sarah Flower Adams (22 February 1805 – 14 August 1848) was an English poet.

Delmira Agustini
Agustini, Delmira

Delmira Agustini (October 24, 1886 – July 6, 1914), a Uruguayan poet, is considered one of the greatest female Latin American poets of the early 20th century.

Conrad Aiken
Aiken, Conrad

A Pulitzer Prize-winning American author.. American poet and author

Anna Akhmatova
Akhmatova, Anna

One of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th-century.. Russian poet

Louisa May Alcott
Alcott, Louisa May

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist best known as author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard .

Richard Aldington
Aldington, Richard

An English writer and poet.. English writer and poet

Julie Hill Alger
Alger, Julie Hill

Julie Hill Alger: American poet. Julie Hill Alger poems, poetry, biography, quotes, poems, Julie Hill Alger biography.

Dante Alighieri
Alighieri, Dante

An Italian Florentine poet. His greatest work is la Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy).. Italian poet

William Allingham
Allingham, William

An Irish man of letters and poet.. Irish man of letters and poet

Yehuda Amichai
Amichai, Yehuda

An Israeli poet considered by many to be the greatest modern Israeli poet.. Israeli poet

Kingsley Amis
Amis, Kingsley

An English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher.. English author and poet

A R Ammons
Ammons, A R

Archie Randolph Ammons (February 18, 1926 – February 25, 2001) was an American poet who won the annual National Book Award for Poetry in 1973 and 1993. He wrote about humanity's relationship to nature in alternately comic and solemn tones.

Maya Angelou
Angelou, Maya

Pulitzer Prize-winning African American author and an important figure in the American Civil Rights.. American Poet

Guillaume Apollinaire
Apollinaire, Guillaume

A poet, writer, and art critic. Among the foremost French poets of the early 20th century.. French poet

Matthew Arnold
Arnold, Matthew

An English poet and cultural critic.. British poet and cultural critic

Jean Arp
Arp, Jean

Jean Arp / Hans Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966) was a German-French, or Alsatian, sculptor, painter, poet and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper. A German-French sculptor, painter, and poet.. sculptor painter and poet

John Ashbery
Ashbery, John

An American poet.. American poet; 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Wystan Hugh (W H) Auden
Auden, Wystan Hugh (W H)

Wystan Hugh Auden (/ ' w s t n ' h ju ' d n / ; 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.

Jane Austen
Austen, Jane

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Alfred Austin
Austin, Alfred

Alfred Austin DL (30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913) was an English poet who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1896 upon the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson .

Li Bai
Bai, Li

A Chinese poet who lived during the Tang Dynasty.. major Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty poetry period

Imamu Amiri Baraka
Baraka, Imamu Amiri

Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones October 7, 1934), formerly known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, is an African-American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism. He is the author of numerous books of poetry and has taught at a number of universities, including the State University of New York at Buffalo and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received the PEN Open Book Award formerly known as the Beyond Margins Award in 2008 for Tales of the Out and the Gone.

Matsuo Basho
Basho, Matsuo

Matsuo Basho (1644–1694), renku and haiku poet

Elizabeth Bishop
Bishop, Elizabeth

An American poet and writer.. American poet and short-story writer; US Poet Laureate

William Blake
Blake, William

An English poet, painter, and printmaker.. English painter poet and printmaker

Jorge Luis Borges
Borges, Jorge Luis

An Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century.. Argentine short-story writer essayist poet and translator

Anne Bronte
Bronte, Anne

Anne Brontë (/ ' b r n t i / ; 17 January 1820 – 28 May 1849) was a British novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family.

Gwendolyn Brooks
Brooks, Gwendolyn

Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American woman poet.. African-American poet; 30th US Poet Laureate

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett

An English poet of the Romantic Movement.. English poet prominent in the Victorian era

Robert Browning
Browning, Robert

An English poet and playwright.. English poet and playwright prominent Victorian era poet.

Robert Burns
Burns, Robert

A poet and songwriter widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.. Scottish poet and a lyricist

George (Lord) Byron
Byron, George (Lord)

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron's best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the short lyric " She Walks in Beauty ." He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.

Lewis Carroll
Carroll, Lewis

An English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman, and photographer.. English author mathematician logician Anglican deacon and photographer

Constantine P Cavafy
Cavafy, Constantine P

Constantine P. Cavafy (also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes ; Greek : stat. aßf ; April 29 (April 17, OS ), 1863 – April 29, 1933) was a Greek poet who lived in Alexandria and worked as a journalist and civil servant. He published 154 poems; dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form. His most important poetry was written after his fortieth birthday.

Geoffrey Chaucer
Chaucer, Geoffrey

An English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat (courtier), and diplomat.. author philosopher alchemist and astronomer; Father of English literature

Sandra Cisneros
Cisneros, Sandra

Sandra Cisneros (born December 20, 1954 in Chicago) is a United States author and poet best known for her novel The House on Mango Street. She is also the author of Caramelo, published by Knopf in 2002. Much of her writing is influenced by her Mexican-American heritage.

Lucille Clifton
Clifton, Lucille

An American poet from New York.. educator and Poets Laureate of Maryland

Billy Collins
Collins, Billy

An American poet who served two terms as the 44th Poet Laureate of the United States.. American poet appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States 2001–2003

Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings
Cummings, Edward Estlin (E E)

E. E. Cummings (1894–1962), American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright

Walter de la Mare
de la Mare, Walter

An English poet, short story writer, and novelist.. English poet short story writer and novelist

Emily Dickinson
Dickinson, Emily

One of the quintessential American poets of the 19th century.. American poet

John Donne
Donne, John

A Jacobean poet and preacher, the representative of the so-called metaphysical poets of the period.. English poet satirist lawyer and a cleric in the Church of England

Keith Douglas
Douglas, Keith

An English poet.. English war poet

Carol Ann Duffy
Duffy, Carol Ann

A British poet born in Glasgow, Scotland.. Scottish poet and playwright; first female and first Scottish Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson, Ralph Waldo

A famous American preacher, philosopher, and poet of the 19th century.. American essayist lecturer and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement

Robert Frost
Frost, Robert

An American poet. One of the foremost poets of the 20th century.. American poet; received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry

Du Fu
Fu, Du

A prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty.. prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty

Allen Ginsberg
Ginsberg, Allen

An American Beat poet born in Newark, New Jersey.. American poet; one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation

Nikki Giovanni
Giovanni, Nikki

Nikki Giovanni is one of the best-known African-American poets who reached prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Thomas Hardy
Hardy, Thomas

A British novelist, short story writer, and poet of the naturalist movement.. English novelist and poet

Robert Herrick
Herrick, Robert

A 17th century English poet.. English poet

Oliver Wendell Holmes
Holmes, Oliver Wendell

One of the best regarded American poets of the 19th century.. American physician poet professor lecturer and author


Ancient Greek Epic Poet of the Odyssey and Iliad.

Langston Hughes
Hughes, Langston

An American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist.. American poet social activist novelist playwright and columnist

Ben Jonson
Jonson, Ben

An English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor.. poet and dramatist

John Keats
Keats, John

One of the principal poets of the English Romantic movement.. English Romantic poet.

Rudyard Kipling
Kipling, Rudyard

A British author and poet, born in India.. English short-story writer poet and novelist

C S Lewis
Lewis, C S

an Irish author and scholar of mixed Irish, English, and Welsh ancestry.. novelist poet academic medievalist literary critic essayist lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

An American poet.. American poet and educator

Pablo Neruda
Neruda, Pablo

A Chilean writer considered one of the most influential poets of the 20th century.. Chilean poet diplomat and politician; Nobel Prize for Literature 1971

Oodgeroo Noonuccal
Noonuccal, Oodgeroo

An Australian poet, actress, writer, teacher, artist and a campaigner for Aboriginal rights.. Australian poet political activist artist and educator the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse

Octavio Paz
Paz, Octavio

A Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature.. Mexican writer poet and diplomat

Sylvia Plath
Plath, Sylvia

An American poet, novelist, short story writer, and essayist.. American poet novelist and short story writer; 1982 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry first to receive the honor posthumously

Edgar Allan Poe
Poe, Edgar Allan

An American poet and short story writer best known for his tales of the macabre.. American author poet editor and literary critic

Jack Prelutsky
Prelutsky, Jack

Jack Prelutsky is an American creator of inventive poems for children and adults alike. He served as the Poetry Foundation’s Children’s Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2008.

Alexander Pushkin
Pushkin, Alexander

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (Russian: ´ ´ ´, pronounced (listen)) (6 June 1799 – 10 February 1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems and plays, creating a style of storytelling—mixing drama, romance, and satire—associated with Russian literature ever since and greatly influencing later Russian writers. He also wrote historical fiction. His The Captain's Daughter provides insight into Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great. A Russian Romantic author who is considered to be the greatest Russian poet.. Russian poet novelist playwright

Sir Walter Raleigh
Raleigh, Sir Walter

A famed English writer, poet, courtier and explorer.. English aristocrat writer poet soldier courtier spy and explorer

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
Rumi, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207–1273), Persian Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic

Carl Sandburg
Sandburg, Carl

An American poet, historian, novelist, balladeer and folklorist.. American poet writer and editor; three Pulitzer Prizes


An Ancient Greek lyric poetess, born in Eresos on the island of Lesbos. Sappho (/'sæfo/; Attic Greek Sapf, Aeolic Greek pf ) was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life. The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments.. ancient Greek lyric poet from island of Lesbos

William Shakespeare
Shakespeare, William

16th century English playwright and poet (British).. English poet and playwright; called "Bard of Avon" and England's national poet

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Shelley, Percy Bysshe

One of the major English Romantic poets.. one of the major English Romantic poets

Shel Silverstein
Silverstein, Shel

An American poet, songwriter, musician, composer, screenwriter, and author of children's books.. American poet singer-songwriter musician composer cartoonist screenwriter and author of children's literature

Gary Soto
Soto, Gary

An American author and poet.. Mexican-American author and poet

Wallace Stevens
Stevens, Wallace

A major American Modernist poet.. American Modernist poet

Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson, Robert Louis

A Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a representative of Neo-romanticism in England.. Scottish novelist poet essayist and travel writer

Jonathan Swift
Swift, Jonathan

An Irish priest, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, and poet.. Anglo-Irish satirist essayist political pamphleteer poet and cleric

Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore, Rabindranath

A Bengali poet, philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist from India.. Bengali polymath; 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature

Sara Teasdale
Teasdale, Sara

Sara Teasdale (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933), was an American lyrical poet. She was born Sara Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri, and after her marriage in 1914 she went by the name "'Sara Teasdale Filsinger'".. American lyrical poet

Alfred Lord Tennyson
Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom and is one of the most popular English poets. Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.. English poet; Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom 1850–1892

Dylan Thomas
Thomas, Dylan

A Welsh poet and writer.. Welsh poet and writer

Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau, Henry David

An American author, development critic, transcendentalist, pacifist, and philosopher.. American author poet philosopher abolitionist naturalist tax resister development critic surveyor historian and leading transcendentalist

Mark Twain
Twain, Mark

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel ."

Cesar Vallejo
Vallejo, Cesar

César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza (March 16, 1892 – April 15, 1938) was a Peruvian poet, writer, playwright, and journalist. Although he published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century in any language. He was always a step ahead of literary currents, and each of his books was distinct from the others, and, in its own sense, revolutionary. Thomas Merton called him "the greatest universal poet since Dante". The late British poet, critic and biographer Martin Seymour-Smith, a leading authority on world literature, called Vallejo "...the greatest twentieth-century poet in any language." He was a member of the intellectual community called North Group formed in Trujillo city.

Judith Viorst
Viorst, Judith

Judith Viorst (born February 3, 1931) is an American author, newspaper journalist, and psychoanalysis researcher. She is perhaps best known [ citation needed ] for her children's literature, such as The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (about the death of a pet) and the Alexander series of short picture books, which includes Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (1972), which has sold over two million copies.

Alice Walker
Walker, Alice

An American author and feminist.. American author poet and activist

Mercy Otis Warren
Warren, Mercy Otis

Mercy Otis Warren (September 14, [September 25, New Style] 1728 – October 19, 1814) was a political writer and propagandist of the American Revolution. In the eighteenth century, topics such as politics and war were thought to be the province of men. Few men and fewer women had the education or training to write about these subjects. Warren was an exception. During the years before the American Revolution, Warren published poems and plays that attacked royal authority in Massachusetts and urged colonists to resist British infringements on colonial rights and liberties.

Wang Wei
Wei, Wang

A Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, musician, painter and statesman.. Chinese priestess and poet

Phillis Wheatley
Wheatley, Phillis

The first African American female writer to be published in the United States.. first African American poet

Walt Whitman
Whitman, Walt

Widely considered to be one of America's best and most influential poets.. American poet essayist journalist and humanist

John Greenleaf Whittier
Whittier, John Greenleaf

An American Quaker poet and forceful advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States.. American poet

Oscar Wilde
Wilde, Oscar

An Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, poet, short story writer and Freemason.. Irish writer playwright and poet

William Carlos (WCW) Williams
Williams, William Carlos (WCW)

William Carlos Williams (1883–1963), poet and physician; associated with modernism and imagism

John Wilmot
Wilmot, John

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1 April 1647 – 26 July 1680), was an English poet and courtier of King Charles II 's Restoration court. The Restoration reacted against the "spiritual authoritarianism" of the Puritan era. Rochester was the embodiment of the new era, and he is as well known for his rakish lifestyle as his poetry, although the two were often interlinked. In 1669 he committed treason by boxing the ears of Thomas Killigrew in sight of the monarch, and in 1673 he accidentally delivered an insulting diatribe to the King. A. C. Grayling wrote, "It is quite something to live in an age of riotous immorality, and yet to be accounted the most dissolute individual of the time." He died at the age of 33 from venereal disease .

William Wordsworth
Wordsworth, William

A major English romantic poet.. English Romantic poet

James Wright
Wright, James

One of the most beloved American poets of the second half of the 20th century.. American poet father of Franz Wright; 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Sir Thomas Wyatt
Wyatt, Sir Thomas

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 11 October 1542) was a 16th-century English ambassador and lyrical poet. He is credited with introducing the sonnet into English. He was born at Allington Castle, near Maidstone in Kent, though his family was originally from Yorkshire. His mother was Anne Skinner and his father, Henry Wyatt, had been one of Henry VII 's Privy Councillors, and remained a trusted adviser when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509. In his turn, Thomas Wyatt followed his father to court after his education at St John's College, Cambridge. None of Wyatt's poems were published during his lifetime—the first book to feature his verse, Tottel's Miscellany of 1557, was printed a full fifteen years after his death.

William Butler Yeats
Yeats, William Butler

William Butler Yeats (/ ' j e t s / ; 13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and, along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and others, founded the Abbey Theatre, where he served as its chief during its early years. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman so honoured for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation." Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929). Yeats was a very good friend of American expatriate poet and Bollingen Prize laureate Ezra Pound. Yeats wrote the introduction for Gitanjali, which was about to be published by the India Society.

Lisa Zaran
Zaran, Lisa

Lisa Zaran: American poet. Lisa Zaran poems, poetry, biography, quotes, poems, Lisa Zaran biography.