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
685 369
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
599 258
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
503 296
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
323 216
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
419 189
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
looksharp added September's Baccalaureate, Silence Is All We Need, The Savior Must Have Been A Docile Gentleman

6
216 217
William Carlos Williams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Red Wheelbarrow, This Is Just to Say, A Song of a Song

7
247 164
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
looksharp added Funeral Blues, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue, A Walk After Dark

8
460 241
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Bell Jar, Ariel, The Collected Poems

9
292 161
Fernando Pessoa is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
BibekSen added Livro Do Desassossego

10
362 169
Ranier Maria Rilke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Ranier Maria Rilke At The Brink Of Night, Behind the Blameless Trees, Falconry

11
261 168
Wallace Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Sunday Morning, Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

12
372 151
Pablo Neruda is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
243 160
Ezra Pound is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
166 105
Elizabeth Bishop is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
ryanmcw added One Art, I Am in Need of Music, The Fish

15
225 160
Seamus Heaney is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
paulodonoghue361 added Blackberry-Picking, Mid-Term Break, Death of a Naturalist

16
245 238
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Howl, Father Death Blues, A Supermarket in California

17
189 95
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
MitrovicMarko added The Open Balcony, Viaje a la luna, Blind Grace

18
281 181
E. E. Cummings is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
153 117
Philip Larkin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
looksharp added Aubade, The Spirit Wood, Since the Majority of Me

20
140 68
Marina Tsvetaeva is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
annaroza added Much Like Me, Lady with Camelias, Whence Cometh Such Tender Rapture?

21
174 67
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
العابر بنعال من ريح added Leaves of Grass, Song of Myself, Words of Ages

22
169 80
Anna Akhmatova is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Everything, I Taught Myself to Live Simply, You Will Hear Thunder

23
206 163
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Dreams, As I Grew Older, Mother to Son

24
273 234
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
145 76
Wislawa Symborska is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Poets of the 20th Century
Wislawa Symborska