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Literature

The Greatest Poets of All Time

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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.

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list ordered by
  • Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (English: ; Russian: Александр Сергеевич Пушкин, tr. Aleksándr Sergéyevich Púshkin, IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr sʲɪrˈɡʲe(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn] (listen); 6 June [O.S. 26 May] 1799 – ...more
  • Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri (Italian: [duˈrante deʎʎ aliˈɡjɛːri]; Latin: Dantes), commonly known by his pen name Dante Alighieri or simply as Dante (, also US: , Italian: [ˈdante]; c. 1265 – ...more
  • Vazha-Pshavela (Georgian: ვაჟა-ფშაველა), simply referred to as Vazha (Georgian: ვაჟა) (26 July 1861 – 10 July 1915), is the pen name of the Georgian poet and writer Luka Razikashvili (Georgian: ლუკა ...more
  • Charles Pierre Baudelaire (UK: , US: ; French: [ʃaʁl bodlɛʁ] (listen); 9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering ...more
  • Publius Vergilius Maro (Classical Latin: [ˈpuː.blɪ.ʊs wɛrˈɡɪ.lɪ.ʊs ˈma.roː]; traditional dates October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil () in English, was an ancient ...more
  • Omar Khayyam (; Persian: عمر خیّام‎ [oˈmæɾ xæjˈjɒːm]; 18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. He was born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most ...more
  • Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (Persian: جلال‌الدین محمد رومی‎), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (جلال‌الدین محمد بلخى), Mevlânâ/Mawlānā (مولانا, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (مولوی, "my ...more
  • William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest ...more
  • Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965), "one of the twentieth century's major poets", was also an essayist, publisher, playwright, and literary and social critic. Born in St. ...more
  • Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمس‌‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی‎), known by his pen name Hafez (حافظ Ḥāfeẓ 'the memorizer; the (safe) keeper'; 1315-1390) and as "Hafiz", was ...more
  • George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer, and politician who became a revolutionary in the Greek War of ...more
  • Homer (; Ancient Greek: Ὅμηρος Greek pronunciation: [hómɛːros], Hómēros) is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. ...more
  • John Keats (; 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe ...more
  • John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver ...more
  • Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most ...more
  • Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973), better known by his pen name and, later, legal name Pablo Neruda (; Spanish: [ˈpaβlo neˈɾuða]), was a Nobel Prize winning ...more
  • Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an expatriate American poet and critic, and a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement. His contribution to poetry began ...more
  • Publius Ovidius Naso (Classical Latin: [ˈpu:.blɪ.ʊs ɔˈwɪ.dɪ.ʊs ˈnaː.soː]; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known as Ovid () in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of ...more
  • Sappho (; Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω Psáppho; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her lyric poetry, written to be sung while accompanied by a lyre. In ...more
  • Ana Kalandadze (Georgian: ანა კალანდაძე) (December 15, 1924 – March 11, 2008) was a Georgian poet and one of the most influential female figures in modern Georgian literature. Kalandadze was born in ...more
  • Victor Marie Hugo (French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo] (listen); 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the ...more
  • Shota Rustaveli
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    Shota Rustaveli (Georgian: შოთა რუსთაველი, c. 1160—after c. 1220), mononymously known simply as Rustaveli, was a medieval Georgian poet. He is considered to be the pre-eminent poet of the Georgian ...more
  • Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (German: [ˈjoːhan ˈkʁɪstɔf ˈfʁiːdʁɪç fɔn ˈʃɪlɐ]; 10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During ...more
  • Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (Spanish pronunciation: [feðeˈɾiko ðel saˈɣɾaðo koɾaˈθon de xeˈsuz ɣaɾˈθi.a ˈloɾka]; 5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936), known as Federico García Lorca ...more
  • Rabindranath Tagore ( (listen); born Robindronath Thakur, 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), and also known by his sobriquets Gurudev, Kabiguru, and Biswakabi, was a polymath, poet, musician, and artist ...more