The Best American Poets

Over 3.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best American Poets
Voting Rules
Vote up the American-born poets with the greatest bodies of work.

Who is the best American poet? This list includes poets such as William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and Robert Frost. From the postcolonial era to modernism, to post-WWII, to present day, great American poets continue to make us think. This list features the best American poets, who have entertained and touched readers throughout history.

We often feel an emotional connection to poetry. It all begins with the words written on the page. Whether short or long poetry is often illusory, and full of rich imagery or hidden meaning. It is these elements which provoke us as readers to dig deeper. The best of 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 us places and into the lives of those we’ve never imagined. Poets are often be tortured souls or great thinkers who allow us a new view of world which we never would have imagined. These greatest American poets provide the kind of emotional connection with the reader that few can. They are moving, saddening, or romantic.

Vote up the best American poets below or add the poet from the United States you think is the greatest if he or she isn't already on the list.
Most divisive: Marianne Moore
Ranked by
  • Emily Dickinson
    1,158 votes
    The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson
  • Walt Whitman
    999 votes
    Leaves of Grass, Song of Myself, Words of Ages
  • Robert Frost
    976 votes
    The Collected Poems, Come in, The Road Not Taken
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    767 votes
    The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher
  • T. S. Eliot
    655 votes
    The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
  • Wallace Stevens
    438 votes
    The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Harmonium, Invective Against Swans