Greatest Poets of All Time

The Top Ten
1 William Shakespeare William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

Well, DUH! Of course William Shakespeare would make this list, but he will always be destined to be number one on every list. I don't really know why he's so famous in his poetry, but it's most likely the world's greatest love story of all time, "Romeo and Juliet." I heard about him when I was 5! This has to be the worlds greatest poet, and no one who sees that, pretty much needs to understand how much work he put into all his poetry. He wrote Hamlet of his son. This is how amazing Shakespeare is. He is, was, and always will be the worlds greatest writer, in English or more. I love you, William!

2 Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American... read more

I literally laugh out loud'd when I saw Tupac on this list - let alone being at number 1! Edgar Allan Poe's style may be too much for some people to comprehend but if you can understand it, the reward is amazing. He must have put a ton of effort into getting you to sympathize with his characters. He never asked you to feel any sympathy. You just did.

Very sadly underrated. An outstanding poet of great fascination and great poetry.

He is so underrated. His poems are dark and mysterious and so interesting

3 Saadi

Persian poetry rules impose horrendously difficult constraints on the Persian poet, yet Sa'di and other Persian poets manage to overcome them, but he, Hafez, Mowlavi (AKA Rumi in the west), and a few others so masterfully overcome them all in the most magnificent way, that Shakespeare himself would have bowed to their talent and thoughts, just as Goethe did with respect to Hafez! By the way, I'm amazed that Hafez is not on the top ten of this list! It is such a pity that so much is lost in translation of such poets and thinkers' writings into other languages, for that would be when one could realize the extent of their mastery over their language as well as what amazing thinkers they were, given how long before the western poets on this list they lived. It is then and only then that one could make a fair comparison of the poets of different mother tongues and different eras!

4 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has reached inside of me from a very young age. Her poems aren't a random mass of words, instead, they are art with a purpose. I hope everyone has a chance to read one of her poems.

You can sense her strength and passion in her poems. Definitely a source of inspiration and motivation!

5 William Wordsworth William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).

Arguably the best poet that came out of the Romantic Era. Tintern Abbey is fantastic. If you haven't read it, please stop what you're doing and enjoy a masterpiece.

A true poetry composer, deserves to be in best of 3 on here...

6 Emily Dickinson Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet . Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts .

Although part of a prominent family with strong ties to its community, Dickinson lived much of her life in reclusive isolation .

While Dickinson was a prolific... read more

Emily Dickinson's is AMAZING. Not only was she completely unknown during her time and was published posthumously, but her poetry resonates deeper than anything I've ever read. While some poems (these are in Life) talk about the angels and heaven, others are emotional insecurity and fear of society and the outside world. READ EMILY DICKINSON!

I really admire Emily Dickinson. She is one of the greatest poet. I love her poems. She is a true genius.

She is without a doubt, the most insightful poet Ever!

7 Langston Hughes James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri... read more
8 Dante Durante degli Alighieri, simply called Dante (c. 1265 – 1321), was a major Italian poet of the Late Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.

Dante should be considered the best poet in the whole world. He is definitely the greatest poet of all Italy. T. S Eliot called him second only to Shakespeare. Although he is not recognized today as a huge poet, his writings are still heavily studied and used by scholars. His poems have flourished for eight hundred years! Longer than Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer. They all being moderately influenced by Dante, the influencer of the greatest poets, the Florentine who was exiled in one of the most brutal times in Florentine history, and the poet who exposed the wrongs of humanity, the beauty of Paradise, wrote in new ways and challenged the meaning of love and what people will do to find it.

9 Robert Frost Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was one of the most popular and critically respected American poets of the 20th century, he was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.
10 Ferdowsi

Ferdowsi was as great or even greater than Homer. The sad fact is that even if you translate his Shahnameh you might get the stories and epics right, but the beauty and music of the words and poetry will be lost. and this true of all Persian poets like Saadi and Hafiz.

Ferdowsi is a poet with an epic story called Shahnama which is superior to Homer's Illiad and Odyssey. It's such a pity that such great poets are unknown just because they are not European.

He saved the Persian language. Otherwise, the Iranians would speak Arabic like Egyptians who became Arabic.

The Contenders
11 Rumi

Rumi one of the best poets of all time brings the definition of LOVE as the best remedy for human to reach the highest level of security, happiness and cure.

He is "LOVE" and that's the only truth in this life! There has never ever been any poet like him in any time! He is by far the best! He is the "REAL DEAL"!

He is a great Persian poets and one of the greatest in the world. His poems are all moving your heart and your mind

12 Homer The Greek poet Homer was born sometime between the 12th and 8th centuries BC, possibly somewhere on the coast of Asia Minor. He is famous for the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, which have had an enormous effect on Western culture, but very little is known about their alleged author.

In my mind, he is the greatest poet of all time, not only because of the rhythm of every line, and the hexameter that he so skillfully uses, but the fact of when it was written in history. He made his masterpiece in the Greek Dark Ages, an age where no one, not even the poets knew how to write or read. This implies not only that Homer had to memorize the whole thing, but that he had to compose it in his head. Another thing is that he had to compose in Greek, which is a much more complex language than, let's say, English. He wasn't only a poet but a genius. Oh... and did I mention he was blind?

13 John Milton John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in... read more

Men that see are blind. Blind men do see.

On His Blindness is a masterpiece.

14 John Keats John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work having been in publication for only four years before his death.

I really admire John Keats. He is a true genius.

15 E. E. Cummings
16 Hafez

One of the Greatest Minds of it's time, way ahead of his Era, his beautiful work has been translated in almost ll languages. HAFEZ, the famous lyric poet of Persia in the fourteenth century, is sometimes called the Persian Anacreon.

His love poems in persian language are exceptional... No one could bring love into literature like him

He has most complete poems in history, he teaches you best thinking style

17 Rabindranath Tagore Rabindranath Tagore FRAS, also written Ravīndranātha Thākura, sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rabindranath , the poet of the poets, can't be described what he actually is! If you don't go through his scintillating works ,you will never be able to understand and realize him. His most famous works have been translated but translation can never be well-understood because the essence dies.

Poet, Lyricist, Music Composer, Novelist, Dramatist, Painter et all.

Is there anyone else who has straddled the art world so completely?

The greatest! Europeans were never able to understand his philosophy. They can't... Because when they translate his work in English it dies

18 Charles Baudelaire Charles Pierre Baudelaire (April 9, 1821 – August 31, 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe... read more
19 William Blake William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.

He was a great man.
he was a reference to satan in john milton's paradise lost

20 Pablo Neruda Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet-diplomat and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973), he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
21 Lord Byron George Gordon Byron (later Noel), 6th Baron Byron, FRS, (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement.
22 Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer.
23 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and... read more

One of the greatest German Poets of all time - if not THE Greatest.

24 Anatole France Anatole France, born François-Anatole Thibault (16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924), was a French poet, journalist, and novelist.

He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters.

He was a member... read more
25 Alexander Pushkin Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (6 June [O.S. 26 May] 1799 – 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1837) was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

Best poet of all time. He should be in top 1

8Load More
PSearch List