Greatest English Language Poets


The Top Ten

1 William Shakespeare 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.

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

Shakespeare stands alone. After him a list begins.

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2 Robert Burns V 1 Comment
3 William Wordsworth 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).

Great poet. I have read several poems written by him. Including the daffodils&the solitary reaper.

He is the greatest poet of nature.

Poet of nature who left tremendous mark on English literate his
Deffodills was a landmark in the literary figures

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4 Milton

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. - dawntreader

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 greatest English poet after Shakespeare is Milton for sure. Paradise Lost says it all.

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

Amazing concision. Cognitively complex and methodologically innovative. Her work remains fresh. Just reading the poems, with no other information, it'd be difficult to place them in a particular time. Most of the poems are not difficult. Many that are difficult will usually reward the additional effort.

Best poet ever! She should be in the top five!

6 Gerard 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.

7 Walt Whitman Walt Whitman Walter "Walt" Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called more.

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

The last of the ecstatics. No one like him--before or since.

Free verse, say what's on your mind!

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8 T. S. Eliot T. S. Eliot Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM, (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965) was an American-born British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and one of the 20th century's major poets.

"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. "

Gotta be in the top 10 as the best American and British poet of the last century

T.S. Eliot may have not published most of his poems, but he made sure that every poem he published was pure poetic heroine.

With a talent that could move the century, it's quite obvious that he had to be in the pantheon of great poets. A Sublime Genius.

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9 Edmund Spenser Edmund Spenser

Spenser is the most beautiful English poet. His Epithalamion is the loveliest poem in the language.

10 Shelley

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.

Shelley remains so underrated, his work has no equal in my mind.

The Contenders

11 Alfred, 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?

He had the best sense of music

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12 Keats

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.

John keats's offerings to English poetry is great that it made the section very much attractive in all areas.

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.

Keats should be in the top 3...

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13 Rudyard Kipling Rudyard Kipling

The poem "if" made me love poetry at all

His poems, especially "If", was very inspiring.

I grew up with the Jungle Book and loved the Disney cartoon. And the poem 'If'.

His poems are a real source of inspiration

14 Lord Byron 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.

This is the best poet from England.

He is the most profound & original of all the English poets - a poet soaked to the marrow n d eternal & incurable pain of existence. England has failed to appreciate him.

15 Robert Frost 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.

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.

My favorite poem is road not taken

16 Philip Larkin

He should be higher in this great list.

17 W. 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.

His reputation gets bigger and bigger.

Time will tell...

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18 John McCrae V 1 Comment
19 Chaucer

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.

20 Yeats

Totally versatile and should be here as his genius spanned so many different styles

What has happened to critical judgment? After Shakespeare alone comes Yeats

Language at its very best, at times, magical

This guy is an absolute beast he writes poems in his selep and wins nobel prizes for the craic what an animal. Ps. He likes his bacon!

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List StatsUpdated 21 Feb 2017

1,000 votes
113 listings
8 years, 117 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. William Shakespeare
2. Rudyard Kipling
3. T. S. Eliot
1. Emily Dickinson
2. Walt Whitman
3. William Shakespeare
1. Robert Burns
2. John McCrae
3. W. H. Auden

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