Greatest English Language Poets

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 I just know he said the most reliable, deepest and truthful things I've ever heard of. Truth such as written in poems is a beautiful thing you know?. And Shakespeare sublimized that idea, with its poems and stories that are touching, strong and hit home almost always from back then to this about greatest genius of all times.

Was a walking example of Pure genius. He is the king of poem and the best poet. His poems make us realize a fresh feeling of nature or the theme of the poem. Really the king of poem!

The really surprising thing is how close number 2 is here... A bit of desperate pleading from the Scottish Nationalists?

2 Robert Burns

My love is like a red red rose. Best poem of its kind!

I learned it at school.

#2? Are you kidding?

3 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.

A truly beautiful and immortal poet.

He is the greatest poet of nature.

4 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 blank verse.

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.

Milton is unrivalled not only in English literature, but also in the world literature from time immemorial. Milton hath surpassed Homer, Virgil, Ovid and many other poets whom mankind ever came across. Milton's name rings in the mind of greatest scholars of the world, while Shakespeare's of general public and also scholars.

The only English poet who can be mentioned in the same breath with Dante. As a pure poet (excluding Shakespeare ) should probably be first even if he hadn't written Paradise Lost while blind and in prison. To not list him at all invalidates list.

5 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 . 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

I think Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the top three poets in the English language. His "Terrible Sonnets" do a better job describing depression than any psychologist can.

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 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 the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry... read 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!

8 Edmund Spenser Edmund Spenser (1552/1553 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of nascent Modern English verse, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

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

9 Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded by some as among the finest lyric, as well as epic, poets in the English language.

While most poets in this list are astounding, I don't think someone could ever outdo Shelley. There was something divine in his words, something no one could achieve.

I think the English still have not forgiven Shelley for his anti-patriotic antics. He should be in the top 3.

I loved his poems as a teenager and their music has never really left me. Another one who died too young.

10 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. "

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.

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

The Contenders
11 Alfred Tennyson Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.

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.

On the list of best five poets. He is a bridge between romantic poetry and the poetry of the newly-industrialized world. He single handedly steered poetry from one to the other

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

12 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.

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 could express the sublime. There are many examples of rather pedestrian verse, but his brave brilliance created, in many instances, the most thought provoking and inspirational verse ever written.

His poem the "bright star" expresses the greatest wish of a man who is desperately in love. In it he said that even immortality could painful if his love isn't with him.

13 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.

He is one of the best romantic poets of the world.
Unfortunately his life was really critical. His dad died of tuberculosis. An American poet.
A great poet who received 4 Pulitzer Awards.
On January 29, 1963, Frost died from complications related to prostate surgery.

His poems are good but not better than the poems of Roald Dahl.I wish Roald was also on the list.

14 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.

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.

This is the best poet from England.

15 Rudyard Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 16, 1936) was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work. Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book, Kim, and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King". His poems include "Mandalay", "Gunga Din", "The Gods of the Copybook Headings", "The White Man's Burden", and "If—".

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

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

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

Used to be thought lesser than Yeats and Eliot but now emerging as the greatest.

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

18 John McCrae

A great Canadian war time poet.

19 Yeats

"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

To think that Yeats is below others is something that shows he still has an audience that has to hear his magic.

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!

20 John Dryden
21 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.
22 Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer is remembered as the author of Canterbury Tales, which ranks as one of the greatest epic works of world literature.

23 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 literature as a whole, and he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story... read more

Edgar Allan Poe was and is personally very important to me as a reader and aspiring writer. I have been obsessed with his short stories and poems since sixth grade and he is still one of my favorite literary figures. His was the first biography I read.

---Angela S.

Shakespeare is way to overrated! Edgar is a poet that knew ow to express his opinions by using such a colorful language and text

The Raven is Fantastic, great rhyming and truly very intellegent.

24 Edna St. Vincent Millay
25 Robert 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.

8Load More
PSearch List