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.

list ordered by
1
722 395
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Wasteland, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Hollow Men
2
632 274
William Butler Yeats is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
paulodonoghue361 added When You Are Old, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Never Give All The Heart
3
531 308
Robert Frost is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Road Not Taken, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Mending Wall
4
340 234
Dylan Thomas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
JimVeltman added Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, And Death Shall Have No Dominion, Fern Hill
5
227 225
William Carlos Williams is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Red Wheelbarrow, This Is Just to Say, A Song of a Song
6
268 171
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
looksharp added Funeral Blues, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue, A Walk After Dark
7
482 254
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Bell Jar, Ariel, The Collected Poems
8
315 166
Fernando Pessoa is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
BibekSen added Livro Do Desassossego
9
378 173
Ranier Maria Rilke is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Ranier Maria Rilke At The Brink Of Night, Behind the Blameless Trees, Falconry
10
271 173
Wallace Stevens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Sunday Morning, Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock
11
387 158
Pablo Neruda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
I Do Not Love You, If You Forget Me, Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines
12
254 167
Ezra Pound is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
looksharp added A Girl, In a Station of the Metro, And the Days Are Not Full Enough
13
181 110
Elizabeth Bishop is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
ryanmcw added One Art, I Am in Need of Music, The Fish
14
238 167
Seamus Heaney is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
paulodonoghue361 added Blackberry-Picking, Mid-Term Break, Death of a Naturalist
15
258 245
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Howl, Father Death Blues, A Supermarket in California
16
202 97
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
MitrovicMarko added The Open Balcony, Viaje a la luna, Blind Grace
17
297 185
E. E. Cummings is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
i carry your heart with me, may i feel said he, maggie and milly and molly and may
18
157 121
Philip Larkin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
looksharp added Aubade, The Spirit Wood, Since the Majority of Me
19
141 71
Marina Tsvetaeva is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
annaroza added Much Like Me, Lady with Camelias, Whence Cometh Such Tender Rapture?
20
173 83
Anna Akhmatova is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Everything, I Taught Myself to Live Simply, You Will Hear Thunder
21
213 167
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Dreams, As I Grew Older, Mother to Son
22
288 242
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
clash1977 added A Smile to Remember, On the Fire Suicides of the Buddhists, So You Want to Be a Writer
23
151 78
Wislawa Symborska is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Wislawa Symborska
24
78 73
Guillaume Apollinaire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
L'hérésiarque et Cie, Les Onze Mille Verges ou les Amours d'un hospodar, Alcools
25
113 89
Czesław Miłosz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Incantation, Ars Poetica?, I Sleep a Lot