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The Best English Poets of All Time

Updated March 4, 2020 18.1k votes 5.5k voters 160.2k views111 items

List RulesVote up the greatest poets from England of all time.

Who is the best English poet? From the Renaissance, to the Jacobean era, to the Restoration, to the modern day, great English poets have been making readers think across the ages. If you love to debate, "Who is the best poet in English literature?" then this is the list for you. 

Written works have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we read on the page. This list of English poets and their works demonstrate this particular skill. It all begins with the words written 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 and make poetry so engaging and moving.

The best of poems and poets are read throughout the ages. They are read from generation to generation and taught throughout school 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 tortured souls or great thinkers who show readers a new view of the world they never would have imagined. This list includes the great English poets, such as Rudyard Kipling, John Keats, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. 

These greatest English poets provide the kind of emotional connection to the written word that few can. So, who are the best of the famous English poets? Vote up the absolute best English poets on the list below, or add a famous poet from England who is truly great, but isn't already on the list.

 

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  • 1
    2,114
    794

    William Shakespeare

    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun

    AgeDec. at 52 (1564-1616)

    BirthplaceStratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

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  • 2
    912
    361

    John Keats

    Bright Star, Ode on a Grecian Urn

    AgeDec. at 26 (1795-1821)

    BirthplaceMoorgate, London, England

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  • 3
    909
    340

    William Wordsworth

    I wandered lonely as a cloud, The world is too much with us

    AgeDec. at 80 (1770-1850)

    BirthplaceWordsworth House, United Kingdom

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  • 4
    766
    310

    John Milton

    Paradise Lost, On His Blindness

    AgeDec. at 66 (1608-1674)

    BirthplaceCheapside, United Kingdom

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  • 5
    348
    137

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    The Canterbury Tales

    AgeDec. at 57 (1343-1400)

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

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  • 6
    415
    162

    Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind

    AgeDec. at 30 (1792-1822)

    BirthplaceHorsham, United Kingdom

    More 

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  • 7
    471
    194

    William Blake

    The Tiger, A Poison Tree

    AgeDec. at 70 (1757-1827)

    BirthplaceSoho, London, United Kingdom

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  • 8
    411
    164

    John Donne

    Dead Be Not Proud, For whom the Bell Tolls

    AgeDec. at 59 (1572-1631)

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

  • 9
    370
    193

    T. S. Eliot

    The Waste Land, The Hollow Men

    AgeDec. at 77 (1888-1965)

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

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  • 10
    242
    90

    George Gordon Byron

    She Walks In Beauty, There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods

    AgeDec. at 36 (1788-1824)

    BirthplaceLondon

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  • 11
    224
    103

    Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson

    The Charge of the Light Brigade, Idylls of the King

    AgeDec. at 83 (1809-1892)

    BirthplaceSomersby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

  • 12
    248
    112

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan

    AgeDec. at 62 (1772-1834)

    BirthplaceOttery St Mary, United Kingdom

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  • 13
    170
    78

    Robert Browning

    My Last Duchess, A Woman's Last Word

    AgeDec. at 77 (1812-1889)

    BirthplaceCamberwell, London, United Kingdom

  • 14
    215
    102

    Alexander Pope

    Ode to Solitude, Eloisa to Abelard

    AgeDec. at 56 (1688-1744)

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

  • 15
    153
    63

    Edmund Spenser

    The Faerie Queene, My Love Is Like to Ice

    AgeDec. at 47 (1552-1599)

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

  • 16
    164
    76

    W. H. Auden

    Funeral Blues, If I Could Tell You

    AgeDec. at 66 (1907-1973)

    BirthplaceYork, United Kingdom

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  • 17
    142
    60

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    The Alchemist in the City, God's Grandeur

    AgeDec. at 45 (1844-1889)

    BirthplaceStratford, London, London, United Kingdom

  • 18
    232
    101

    Oscar Wilde

    Her Voice, A Vision

    AgeDec. at 46 (1854-1900)

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

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  • 19
    140
    58

    Thomas Hardy

    Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure

    AgeDec. at 88 (1840-1928)

    BirthplaceStinsford, England

  • 20
    254
    148

    Rudyard Kipling

    Mandalay, If

    AgeDec. at 71 (1865-1936)

    BirthplaceMumbai, India

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  • 21
    111
    39

    Wilfred Owen

    Poems of Wilfred Owen, Automotive transportation

    AgeDec. at 25 (1893-1918)

    BirthplaceOswestry, England

  • 22
    161
    58

    Dylan Thomas

    A prospect of the sea, Under Milk Wood

    AgeDec. at 39 (1914-1953)

    BirthplaceSwansea, United Kingdom

  • 23
    119
    50

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    How Do I Love Thee? If Thou Must Love Me, A Curse for a Nation

    AgeDec. at 55 (1806-1861)

    BirthplaceKelloe, United Kingdom

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  • 24
    119
    46

    Christina Rossetti

    What Is Pink?, The Skylark

    AgeDec. at 64 (1830-1894)

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

  • 25
    104
    52

    Philip Larkin

    Aubade, Church Going

    AgeDec. at 63 (1922-1985)

    BirthplaceCoventry, United Kingdom