poetry The Best Poets of the 20th Century

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List Rules Vote up the best poets working between 1900-1999 in any language. Only written-word poetry; no musical lyrics!

Who are the best 20th century poets? This list includes great poets from the 20th century such as Maya Angelou, T.S. Eliot, James Baldwin, and Robert Frost. Though the genre of poetry has a rich history, dating back many centuries, the 1900s have seen some truly great poets and poetry. From modernist poetry and imagism to more traditional forms, the poets on this list have mastered their craft.

Written works have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories on the page. Whether short or long form, poetry is often illusory, and full of rich imagery or hidden meaning. It is these elements which provoke readers to dig deeper. The best poems and poets are read throughout the ages. They are passed from generation to generation and taught throughout schools to young students.

Poets and their poetry have the ability to take readers places and into worlds never imagined. Poets can often be tortured souls or great thinkers that allow readers a new view on the world. These greatest 20th century poets provide the kind of emotional connection to the written word that few can, and do so in a modern way. Among them are some of the top writers and poets of all time.

Vote up the best poets from the 20th century on the list below, or add a 20th century poet if he or she is not already on the list.

1
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William Butler Yeats is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
William Butler Yeats When You Are Old, The Lake Isle of Innisfree Never Give All The Heart

The Greatest Poets of All Time The Greatest Graphic Novels and Collected Editions

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+ - 352 144
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
T. S. Eliot The Wasteland, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock The Hollow Men

3
+ - 267 124
Robert Frost is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Robert Frost The Road Not Taken, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Mending Wall

4
+ - 148 62
Fernando Pessoa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Fernando Pessoa Livro Do Desassossego

5
+ - 202 82
Ranier Maria Rilke is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Ranier Maria Rilke At The Brink Of Night, Behind the Blameless Trees Falconry

6
+ - 165 78
Dylan Thomas is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Dylan Thomas Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, And Death Shall Have No Dominion Fern Hill

7
+ - 181 76
Pablo Neruda is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Pablo Neruda I Do Not Love You, If You Forget Me Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines

8
+ - 128 62
Seamus Heaney is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Seamus Heaney Blackberry-Picking, Mid-Term Break Death of a Naturalist

9
+ - 177 93
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Emily Dickinson September's Baccalaureate, Silence Is All We Need The Savior Must Have Been A Docile Gentleman

10
+ - 149 81
Wallace Stevens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Wallace Stevens The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Sunday Morning Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

11
+ - 122 65
Ezra Pound is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Ezra Pound A Girl, In a Station of the Metro And the Days Are Not Full Enough

12
+ - 125 69
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
W. H. Auden Funeral Blues, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue A Walk After Dark

13
+ - 222 140
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar, Ariel The Collected Poems

14
+ - 117 85
William Carlos Williams is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
William Carlos Williams The Red Wheelbarrow, This Is Just to Say A Song of a Song

15
+ - 170 109
E. E. Cummings is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
e.e. cummings i carry your heart with me, may i feel said he maggie and milly and molly and may

The Best American Poets The Best Movies Based on Short Stories

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+ - 70 38
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Federico García Lorca The Open Balcony, Viaje a la luna Blind Grace

17
+ - 74 37
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
D. H. Lawrence A Winter's Tale, Self-Pity Beautiful Old Age

18
+ - 69 31
Constantine P. Cavafy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Constantine P. Cavafy Ithaca, As Much As You Can Body Remember

19
+ - 39 16
Giuseppe Ungaretti is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Giuseppe Ungaretti Il taccuino del vecchio, 1952-1960 Sentimiento del Tiempo - La Tierra Prometida

20
+ - 74 46
Philip Larkin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Philip Larkin Aubade, The Spirit Wood Since the Majority of Me

21
+ - 79 56
Elizabeth Bishop is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Elizabeth Bishop One Art, I Am in Need of Music The Fish

22
+ - 17 1
Gwendolyn Brooks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Gwendolyn Brooks In the Mecca; Poems, Annie Allen

23
+ - 58 25
George Seferis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
George Seferis The Leaf of the Poplar, In the Sea Caves The Jasmin

24
+ - 34 13
Gottfried Benn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Gottfried Benn Nach dem Nihilismus, The voice behind the screen Primäre Tage

25
+ - 65 41
Czesław Miłosz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Czesław Miłosz Incantation, Ars Poetica? I Sleep a Lot

26
+ - 153 122
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Charles Bukowski A Smile to Remember, On the Fire Suicides of the Buddhists So You Want to Be a Writer

27
+ - 30 5
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass, Song of Myself Words of Ages

28
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Arthur Rimbaud is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Arthur Rimbaud A Season in Hell, Illuminations Collected poems

29
+ - 49 31
Theodore Roethke is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Theodore Roethke My Papa's Waltz, I Knew a Woman Elegy for Jane

The Best Female Poets of All Time Fun Jobs That Pay Well

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+ - 60 32
Robinson Jeffers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Robinson Jeffers The beginning & the end, and other poems Z̆eny od mysu Sur

31
+ - 36 23
Paul Valéry is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Paul Valéry The Graveyard by the Sea, The Steps Les Pas

32
+ - 153 138
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Allen Ginsberg Howl, Father Death Blues A Supermarket in California

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+ - 61 39
Wilfred Owen is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Wilfred Owen Dulce Et Decorum Est, 1914 Anthem for Doomed Youth

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Thomas Hardy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Thomas Hardy I Said to Love, I Need Not Go A Broken Appointment

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Hart Crane is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Hart Crane Exile, Chaplinesque Forgetfulness

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Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Langston Hughes Dreams, As I Grew Older Mother to Son

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+ - 30 20
Guillaume Apollinaire is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Guillaume Apollinaire L'hérésiarque et Cie, Les Onze Mille Verges ou les Amours d'un hospodar Alcools

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+ - 41 27
Marianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Marianne Moore A Grave, He Made This Screen Silence

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+ - 30 14
Stefan George is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century

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+ - 70 53
Anna Akhmatova is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Anna Akhmatova Everything, I Taught Myself to Live Simply You Will Hear Thunder

41
+ - 64 49
Ted Hughes is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Ted Hughes Lovesong, The Thought-Fox Full Moon and Little Frieda

42
+ - 44 34
Marina Tsvetaeva is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Marina Tsvetaeva Much Like Me, Lady with Camelias Whence Cometh Such Tender Rapture?

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+ - 23 10
Tomas Tranströmer is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Tomas Tranströmer Fängelse, The Sorrow Gondola Baltics

The Best African American Poets of All Time The Best Pudding Brands

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+ - 29 17
Robert Brasillach is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Robert Brasillach A translation of Notre avant-guerre/Before the war by Robert Brasillach

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+ - 31 19
Gary Snyder is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Gary Snyder Hay for the Horses, For Lew Welch in a Snowfall December at Yae

46
+ - 49 42
Robert Lowell is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Robert Lowell The Old Flame, Skunk Hour Children of Light

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+ - 13 5
Zbigniew Herbert is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Zbigniew Herbert Report from the Besieged City & Other Poems, Interrogation of an Angel Zbigniew Herbert

48
+ - 36 34
Robert Penn Warren is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Robert Penn Warren True Love, Tell Me a Story Evening Hawk

49
+ - 39 25
Allen Tate is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Allen Tate Hovering Fly and Other Essays, Collected Poems 1919-1976

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+ - 49 39
Wislawa Symborska is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Wislawa Symborska