Greatest English Language Poets


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The Top Ten

The really surprising thing is how close number 2 is here... A bit of desperate pleading from the Scottish Nationalists?
Goes without saying surely - what more is there to say? The rest is silence...
Was a walking example of Pure genius
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2Emily Dickinson
Best poet ever! She should be in the top five!

3Robert Burns

4Walt Whitman
I experience as deep a spiritual connection reading Whitman aloud as I have with any poet I've encountered so far.
Whitman should be higher.

5William Wordsworth
Poet of nature who left tremendous mark on english literate his
Deffodills was a landmark in the literary figures
Great poet. I have read several poems written by him. Including the daffodils&the solitary reaper.

6Alfred, Lord Tennyson
A number of phrases from Tennyson's work have become commonplaces of the English language, including "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
Most melodious of all the poets in English, and the greatest for me at dealing with grief and doubt about the meaning of things in life
How can he be so low down the list?
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7Robert Frost

At the time of his death in January, 1963, Frost had achieved a degree of fame unequaled by any modern American poet. He was not merely a celebrated writer but a public figure who seemed to embody a certain native national wisdom. In front of television cameras, radio microphones, or crowded lecture halls, Frost played with poised perfection the role of the philosophical farmer-poet. His appearance at John Kennedy's 1961 Presidential inauguration still ranks as the most famous public appearance in the history of American literature.

8Philip Larkin
He should be higher in this great list.

9T. S. Eliot
"As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug's game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing. "
When T.S. eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, "the world became a lesser place. "
Gotta be in the top 10 as the best American and British poet of the last century
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John keats's offerings to english poetry is great that it made the section very much attractive in all areas.
When you consider that Keats died at age twenty five, his genius is magnified. If you can write ten immortal poems in a long life, you have achieved quite a lot. Keats' Odes are among the best poetry ever written. If you want to recommend one poet, he is the one that touched the pinnacle of grace and art.
Keats is an example of a great genius and talent. his odes are those epic milestones that shall live immortally till the whole ship of literature submerges.
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The Contenders

11Rudyard Kipling
I grew up with the Jungle Book and loved the Disney cartoon. And the poem 'If'.
The poem "if" made me love poetry at all
His poems, especially "If", was very inspiring.
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The Father of English poetry, still illusive and ironic - laughing at humanity
Geoffrey Chaucer is remembered as the author of Canterbury Tales, which ranks as one of the greatest epic works of world literature.

13Edna St. Vincent Millay

€I am incapable of saying a word about W.B. yeats because, through no fault of his, he has become for me a symbol of my own devil of inauthenticity, of everything I must try to eliminate from my own poetry. ” - W.H. auden
Totally versatile and should be here as his genius spanned so many different styles
I think Yeats is the best Poet of Engilsh Language, just read him before voting Shakespeare, and then choose whi is better, I think Yeats
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15Gerard Manley Hopkins
His poetry is almost incomparable... I haven't met another who uses words and sound to their fullest possibility as this man does.

16W. H. Auden

Greatest English poet of the twentieth century ad still a massive influence. No-one can use an adjectival phrase quite the same nowadays

Yes, greatest English poet of the 20th century. And very entertaining.

17John McCrae
A great Canadian war time poet.


My wife and I had an outstanding Milton scholar as a professor in college. He started out the course by acknowledging that most people consider Shakespeare, Milton and Chaucer as the greatest writers in the English language. By the end of the course, he said he hoped we might consider Milton THE greatest of the three. And, by the end of Paradise Lost, we were convinced.


Paradise Lost is the single, most essential poem in the English language. Milton (more than Shakespeare, even) establishes the very idea of what it means to be a serious poet in the modern world.
€"The mind is its own place,
And in itself can make a heaven of hell,
A hell of heaven. "
John Milton, Paradise Lost
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19Christina Rossetti

20Banjo Paterson


Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! She did depart!

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly
He took her with a sigh.

I loved his poems as a teenager and their music has never really left me. Another one who died too young.
I think the English still have not forgiven Shelley for his anti-patriotic antics. He should be in the top 3.

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for the.

24Edgar Allan Poe
The Raven is Fantastic, great rhyming and truly very intellegent.
Shakespeare is way to overrated! Edgar is a poet that knew ow to express his opinions by using such a colorful language and text

25Lord Byron
This is the best poet from England.


27Ezra Pound

Il miglior fabbro as t S Eliot said, such an inspiration to so many

28Wallace Stevens

The greatest American poet of the last century, whose poems can only get more and more famous.

29Wilfred Owen

30Christopher Marlowe
He got me interested in poetry after reading his verse plays and has always stayed with me

31Robert Browning

But a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for? - Browning draws characters and expresses complex human emotions so beautifully.

32Oscar Wilde

33E.E. Cummings

34Thomas Gray

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

35George Herbert


Having been tenant long to a rich Lord,
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,
And make a suit unto Him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancel th' old.
In heaven at His manor I Him sought:
They told me there, that He was lately gone
About some land, which He had dearly bought
Long since on Earth, to take possession.
I straight returned, and knowing His great birth,
Sought Him accordingly in great resorts--
In cities, theatres, gardens, parks, and courts:
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
Of thieves and murderers; there I Him espied,
Who straight, "Your suit is granted, " said, and died.

36Andrew Marvell

In an era that makes a better claim than most upon the familiar term transitional, Andrew Marvell is surely the single most compelling embodiment of the change

37Matthew Arnold

Dover Beach is a poetic masterpiece. Maybe one poem doesn't make the poet, but nevertheless "Dover Beach" is far above the other Victorian works.

38Sylvia Plath

The woman was a genius, beyond comparrsion. Her poetry was unique. Modern, yet with class. Her or Robert Frost should be number 1. With Shakespeare and Yeats second and third!

39Ted Hughes

The best writer about animals in the English language.

A much better poet than his ex-wife though she seems to get all the attention because of her mental problems.

40William Dunbar

Probably the greatest Scottish poet, though little read, maybe because his language is too antique and dialectal

41William McGonagall

The funniest poet I've ever read Could even claim to be the greatest Scot - he's far better than Burns, for example

42Edward Thomas

Thomas's poems are noted for their attention to the English countryside and a certain colloquial style. A short poem of Thomas's serves as an example of how he blends war and countryside throughout his poetry.

Andrew Motion puts him in the top ten.
His genius was blown to pieces

43Alexander Pope

44John Dryden

45John Clare

He wrote a huge amount but the few last great poems of solitude are something no other poet has ever reached.

46Thomas Hardy

He wasn't just a novelist - he also wrote some of the most tragic poems in English - and they are great achievements in their own right

47Isaac Rosenberg

Brought the vernacular into poetry - much more readable than Owen, and has a deeper, more lasting effect

a voice for Israel in poetry

dies before his time

way ahead of his time too

48Edmund Spenser

49Dylan Thomas

That's because of him that we know Mr. Bob Dylan. See Anthony Hopkins reading Dylan Thomas on youtube...

50Ben Jonson

51Seamus Heaney

Displays great appreciation for traditional skill and craftsmanship

52John Betjeman

Comic poets are far too far down this list. Poetry isn't just about feeling sombre. JB is among the very best of chucklers.

53William Carlos Williams

I can never forget his poem about stealing food from the fridge :)

54Charles Bukowski

55Sarojini Naidu

After independence she became the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. She was the first woman governor in India.

56John Massey Gawain Poet

I don't think John Massey wrote the Gawain Poem? Nobody knows. But it's an amazing poem all the same

57Stevie Smith

58William Cowper

59Howard Nemerov

An American classicist... very unusual, and unusually talented. He has a lovely grasp of rhythm too.

60U. A. Fanthorpe

Underrated but really has a great way of looking at things and a surprising and novel way of expressing it and her reputation will hopefully rise

61Oliver Goldsmith

62Robert Lowell


Gotta be given some kudos for being the first... Guess he never realized what things would lead to

64Elizabeth Bishop

Her poetry poses interesting questions which is notably intriguing and she uses a conversational tone in many of her poems with contributes to her uniqueness as a poet. She offers a wide range of themes-all with similar stylistic features, hich proves in itself the talent she possessed.

65A. E. Housman
Represents the quintessence of England.

66Maya Angelou

67Sir Philip Sidney

"How violently rumours do blow the sails of popular judgments, and
How few there be that can discern between truth and truth-likeness,
Between shows and substance. "

An inspiration and not just in terms of his verse... Who knows what he might have done had he not died so young.

68Hart Crane

69Billy Collins

70James Elroy Flecker

71Shel Silverstein

72Dr. Seuss
Laugh out loud whoever voted for this was a dumbass

73Sir Walter Scott

74Mary Sydney

75William Langland

76George Crabbe

77Thomas Wyatt

78John Skelton

79John Gower

80Derek Walcott

81Carol Ann Duffy

82Siegfried Sassoon

83William Barnes

84Laurence Binyon

85Rupert Brooke

86William Collins

87Cecil Day-Lewis

88Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

89Louis MacNiece

90John Masefield

91Adrian Henri

The best of the Mersey Beat poets - the only one with a real sense for poetry - Tonight at Noon for example

92Thom Gunn

93Ogden Nash

Consider the auk;
Becoming extinct because he forgot how to fly, and could only walk.
Consider man, who may well become extinct
Because he forgot how to walk and learned how to fly before he thinked.

A master of light, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical verse

94Charles Simic

95Peter Porter

96Leonard Cohen

97Khalil Gibran

98Langston Hughes

99Stephen Crane

100Adrienne Rich

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This list was created 5 years, 169 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list contains 106 items, has been remixed 1 times.

Updated Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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