The Greatest Poets of All Time

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.

Ranked by
  • William Wordsworth
    I wandered lonely as a cloud, The world is too much with us, Daffodils
    • Birthplace: Wordsworth House, United Kingdom
  • John Donne
    Dead Be Not Proud, For whom the Bell Tolls, No Man Is an Island
    • Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
  • Friedrich Hölderlin
    Hyperion's Song Of Destiny, Bread and Wine, Half of Life
    • Birthplace: Lauffen am Neckar, Germany
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, The Suicide's Argument
    • Birthplace: Ottery St Mary, United Kingdom
  • e e cummings
    i carry your heart with me, may i feel said he, i like my body when it is with your
    • Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Fernando Pessoa
    mar sem fim, Ecologia e território, rosto e as máscaras
    • Birthplace: Lisbon District, Portugal
  • Ezra Pound
    In a Station of the Metro, The River-Merchant's Wife, And the days are not full enough
    • Birthplace: Hailey, Idaho
  • W. H. Auden
    Funeral Blues, If I Could Tell You, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue
    • Birthplace: York, United Kingdom
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Give All To Love, Fate, The Bell
    • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Pindar
    Isthmian Odes of Pindar, The works of Pindar, Pindar's IV. Pythische Ode
    • Birthplace: Boeotia, Greece
  • Wallace Stevens
    The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Harmonium, Invective Against Swans
    • Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Robert Browning
    My Last Duchess, A Pretty Woman, Porphyria's Lover
    • Birthplace: Camberwell, London, United Kingdom
  • Giacomo Leopardi
    Pensieri, Detti memorabili di Filippo Ottonieri, Scritti e frammenti autobiografici
    • Birthplace: Recanati, Italy
  • Catullus
    Leben, Lieben, Leiden. Catulls Lesbia- Gedichte Mit Begleittexten
    • Birthplace: Verona, Italy
  • Annette von Droste-Hülshoff
    Die Judenbuche, Das geistliche Jahr, Last Gifts
    • Birthplace: Havixbeck, Germany
  • Johann Gottfried Herder
    Shakespeare, Sculpture, Another Philosophy of History and Selected Political Writings
    • Birthplace: East Prussia
  • Gottfried Benn
    Last Spring
    • Birthplace: Germany
  • Edmund Spenser
    The Faerie Queene, My Love Is Like to Ice, Epithalamion
    • Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
  • Philip Larkin
    Aubade, Church Going, Faith Healing
    • Birthplace: Coventry, United Kingdom
  • Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
    Der Messias. Gesang I - III. Text des Erstdrucks von 1748., Die Deutsche Gelehrenrepublik, Klopstick Der Messias: Werke und Briefe Historisch-Kritische Ausgabe
    • Birthplace: Quedlinburg, Germany
  • Luís de Camões
    The Lusiads of Camoens, A ilha dos amores, he Canzonen des Luis de Camoens
    • Birthplace: Coimbra, Portugal
  • Johann Ludwig Tieck
    Der Hexensabbat, Des Lebens Überfluss, Aus Tiecks Novellenzeit
    • Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
    • Birthplace: Molmerswende, Germany
    • Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany