poetry The Greatest Poets of All Time  

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List Rules Vote up the all time best poets

Who are the best poets of all time? It includes poets such as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare, and Sylvia Plath. Poetry has captivated readers for thousands of years. Regardless of the time period during which they wrote, the great poets on this list have used their talents and ways with language to connect with readers of all ages.

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 school to young students.

Poets and their poetry have the ability to take readers places and into worlds they've never imagined. Poets can often be tortured souls or great thinkers who allow readers a new view on the world which they never would have imagined. These greatest poets provide the kind of emotional connection to the written word that few can.

Vote up the all time best poets on the list below or add the poets you think are the greatest if they aren't already on the list.

list ordered by

1
3,122 835
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
William Shakespeare Died at 52 (1564-1616)

2
2,995 784
Homer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
housecat added Homer

3
2,983 793
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Dante Alighieri Died at 56 (1265-1321)

4
2,984 782
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe Died at 40 (1809-1849)

5
2,938 756
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
schuechen added Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Died at 83 (1749-1832)

6
2,878 728
William Blake is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
William Blake Died at 70 (1757-1827)

7
2,896 739
William Butler Yeats is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
William Butler Yeats Died at 74 (1865-1939)

8
2,908 739
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Walt Whitman Died at 73 (1819-1892)

9
3,387 354
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
George98 added Shota Rustaveli Died at 44 (1172-1216)

10
2,876 687
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Emily Dickinson Died at 56 (1830-1886)

11
2,806 670
Rainer Maria Rilke is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
chrisstbax added Rainer Maria Rilke Died at 51 (1875-1926)

12
2,714 653
Henrik Ibsen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
schuechen added Henrik Ibsen Died at 78 (1828-1906)

13
3,829 647
Ana Kalandadze is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Tamari Dzodzuashvili added Ana Kalandadze Died at 84 (1924-2008)

14
2,855 656
Robert Frost is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Robert Frost Died at 89 (1874-1963)

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15
2,799 635
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Rudyard Kipling Died at 71 (1865-1936)

16
2,855 656
Pablo Neruda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Pablo Neruda Died at 69 (1904-1973)

17
2,886 648
George Gordon Byron is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
George Gordon Byron Died at 36 (1788-1824)

18
2,815 645
Rabindranath Tagore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Rabindranath Tagore Died at 80 (1861-1941)

19
2,751 628
Giovanni Boccaccio is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Giovanni Boccaccio Died at 62 (1313-1375)

20
2,916 621
Aleksandr Pushkin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Aleksandr Pushkin Died at 38 (1799-1837)

21
2,814 637
Friedrich Schiller is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Friedrich Schiller Died at 46 (1759-1805)

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22
2,732 623
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Ten... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time

23
2,704 582
Robert Burns is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Robert Burns Died at 37 (1759-1796)

24
2,721 628
Geoffrey Chaucer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
chrisstbax added Geoffrey Chaucer Died at 57 (1343-1400)

25
2,299 328
Vazha-Pshavela is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Tamari Dzodzuashvili added Vazha-Pshavela Died at 54 (1861-1915)

26
2,860 618
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
chrisstbax added T. S. Eliot Died at 77 (1888-1965)

27
2,813 610
John Keats is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
John Keats Died at 26 (1795-1821)

28
2,659 590
Novalis is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Novalis Died at 29 (1772-1801)

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29
2,772 601
William Wordsworth is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
William Wordsworth Died at 80 (1770-1850)

30
2,799 606
Charles Baudelaire is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Charles Baudelaire Died at 46 (1821-1867)

31
2,764 604
Friedrich Hölderlin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Friedrich Hölderlin Died at 73 (1770-1843)

32
2,713 589
Dylan Thomas is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
bonifaceVIII added Dylan Thomas Died at 39 (1914-1953)

33
2,876 613
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Oscar Wilde Died at 46 (1854-1900)

34
2,740 593
Percy Bysshe Shelley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
softserve added Percy Bysshe Shelley Died at 30 (1792-1822)

35
2,656 576
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
W. H. Auden Died at 66 (1907-1973)

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36
2,731 580
Petrarch is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
chrisstbax added Petrarch Died at 70 (1304-1374)

37
2,591 563
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Annette von Droste-Hülshoff Died at 51 (1797-1848)

38
2,627 571
August Heinrich Hoffmann von F... is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben Died at 76 (1798-1874)

39
2,800 612
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
clash1977 added Charles Bukowski Died at 74 (1920-1994)

40
2,447 538
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorf... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff Died at 69 (1788-1857)

41
2,780 587
Virgil is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
chrisstbax added Virgil Died at 51 (69 BC-18 BC)

42
2,757 584
John Milton is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
softserve added John Milton Died at 66 (1608-1674)

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43
2,684 572
Luís de Camões is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Luís de Camões Died at 56 (1524-1580)

44
2,659 570
E. E. Cummings is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
e e cummings Died at 68 (1894-1962)

45
2,685 565
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
looksharp added Samuel Taylor Coleridge Died at 62 (1772-1834)

46
2,669 561
Horace is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
softserve added Horace Died at 57 (64 BC-7 BC)

47
2,828 594
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
housecat added Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi Died at 66 (1207-1273)

48
2,521 535
Hans Sachs is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Polar Bear added Hans Sachs Died at 82 (1494-1576)

49
2,560 540
Pindar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
bonifaceVIII added Pindar Died at 79 (521 BC-442 BC)

50
2,724 572
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Poets of All Time
Sylvia Plath Died at 31 (1932-1963)