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The Best English Poets of All Time 

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Updated March 4, 2020 13.9k votes 4.5k voters 132.1k views 111 items

List Rules Vote 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.

 

list ordered by
1
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun, All the World's a Stage

Age: Dec. at 52 (1564-1616)

Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

More William Shakespeare 

The Best William Shakespeare Quotes #20 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive #25 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time

2
John Keats is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Bright Star, Ode on a Grecian Urn, A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

Age: Dec. at 26 (1795-1821)

Birthplace: Moorgate, London, England

More John Keats 

The Best John Keats Quotes #808 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #76 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

3
William Wordsworth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added I wandered lonely as a cloud, The world is too much with us, Daffodils

Age: Dec. at 80 (1770-1850)

Birthplace: Wordsworth House, United Kingdom

More William Wordsworth 

#836 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #530 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #94 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

4
John Milton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Paradise Lost, On His Blindness, How Soon Hath Time

Age: Dec. at 66 (1608-1674)

Birthplace: Europe, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England, + more

More John Milton 

The Best John Milton Quotes #900 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #350 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

5
William Blake is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Tiger, A Poison Tree, Auguries of Innocence

Age: Dec. at 70 (1757-1827)

Birthplace: Soho, London, United Kingdom

More William Blake 

#263 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #175 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #189 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time

6
Geoffrey Chaucer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Canterbury Tales

Age: Dec. at 57 (1343-1400)

Birthplace: Europe, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England, + more

More Geoffrey Chaucer 

Dank Chaucer Slang You'll Be Using To Disparage Franciscans In No Time #1,248 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #347 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

7
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

Age: Dec. at 77 (1888-1965)

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri

More T. S. Eliot 

The Best T. S. Eliot Quotes #313 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #690 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

8
Percy Bysshe Shelley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Percy Bysshe Shelley Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark

Age: Dec. at 30 (1792-1822)

Birthplace: Horsham, United Kingdom

More Percy Bysshe Shelley 

The Best Percy Bysshe Shelley Quotes #587 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #143 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

9
John Donne is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Dead Be Not Proud, For whom the Bell Tolls, No Man Is an Island

Age: Dec. at 59 (1572-1631)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

More John Donne 

#126 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #20 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #82 of 250 The Best Gay Authors

10
Samuel Taylor Coleridge ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, The Suicide's Argument

Age: Dec. at 62 (1772-1834)

Birthplace: Ottery St Mary, United Kingdom

More Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

#816 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #194 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #44 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time

11
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Mandalay, If, A Child's Garden

Age: Dec. at 71 (1865-1936)

Birthplace: Mumbai, India

More Rudyard Kipling 

The Best Rudyard Kipling Books #29 of 303 The Best Novelists of All Time #370 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time

12
Alexander Pope is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Ode to Solitude, Eloisa to Abelard, A Dying Christian to His Soul

Age: Dec. at 56 (1688-1744)

Birthplace: Europe, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England, + more

More Alexander Pope 

The Best Alexander Pope Quotes #1,670 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #213 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

13
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Bar... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Charge of the Light Brigade, Idylls of the King, The Lady of Shalott

Age: Dec. at 83 (1809-1892)

Birthplace: Eurasia, Somersby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

More Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson 

#81 of 176 The Best Fantasy Authors #886 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #110 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

14
George Gordon Byron is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
She Walks In Beauty, There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods, When We Two

Age: Dec. at 36 (1788-1824)

Birthplace: London

More George Gordon Byron 

#103 of 303 The Best Novelists of All Time #898 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #101 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

15
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Funeral Blues, If I Could Tell You, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue

Age: Dec. at 66 (1907-1973)

Birthplace: Eurasia, North Yorkshire, York, United Kingdom, England, + more

More W. H. Auden 

The Best W. H. Auden Quotes #916 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #160 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

16
Gerard Manley Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Alchemist in the City, God's Grandeur, The Windhover

Age: Dec. at 45 (1844-1889)

Birthplace: Stratford, London, London, United Kingdom

More Gerard Manley Hopkins 

#772 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #69 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #126 of 250 The Best Gay Authors

17
Robert Browning is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
My Last Duchess, A Woman's Last Word, Life in a Love

Age: Dec. at 77 (1812-1889)

Birthplace: Camberwell, London, United Kingdom

More Robert Browning 

#463 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #33 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #88 of 124 Famous People Buried at Westminster Abbey

18
Edmund Spenser is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Faerie Queene, My Love Is Like to Ice, Epithalamion

Age: Dec. at 47 (1552-1599)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

More Edmund Spenser 

#279 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #71 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #28 of 124 Famous People Buried at Westminster Abbey

19
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Her Voice, A Vision, Flower of Love

Age: Dec. at 46 (1854-1900)

Birthplace: Ireland, Ireland, Europe, Dublin

More Oscar Wilde 

The Best Oscar Wilde Quotes #70 of 303 The Best Novelists of All Time #98 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

20
Robert Burns is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Auld Lang Syne, A Red Red Rose, My Heart's In the Highlands

Age: Dec. at 37 (1759-1796)

Birthplace: Alloway, United Kingdom

More Robert Burns 

#756 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #116 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #5 of 44 The Best Romantic Era Poets

21
Christina Rossetti is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added What Is Pink?, The Skylark, From Queens' Gardens

Age: Dec. at 64 (1830-1894)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

22
Thomas Hardy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character

Age: Dec. at 88 (1840-1928)

Birthplace: Stinsford, England

More Thomas Hardy 

#60 of 303 The Best Novelists of All Time #92 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #26 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time

23
Elizabeth Barrett Browni... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
How Do I Love Thee? If Thou Must Love Me, A Curse for a Nation

Age: Dec. at 55 (1806-1861)

Birthplace: Kelloe, United Kingdom

More Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

#441 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #110 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #69 of 115 Dying Words: Last Words Spoken By Famous People At Death

24
Dylan Thomas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
A prospect of the sea, Under Milk Wood, Under Milk Wood

Age: Dec. at 39 (1914-1953)

Birthplace: Swansea, United Kingdom

More Dylan Thomas 

#966 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #104 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #5 of 158 The Best Poets of the 20th Century

25
Philip Larkin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Aubade, Church Going, Faith Healing

Age: Dec. at 63 (1922-1985)

Birthplace: Coventry, United Kingdom

More Philip Larkin 

#292 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #107 of 368 The Greatest Poets of All Time #21 of 158 The Best Poets of the 20th Century