You Need to Know Every Single Famous Author of Poetry, Stat

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Famous Poets

Okay, so there's no way we could name every famous poet when there are just so many spanning hundreds of years. Still, we're going to throw some truly incredible and well-known poets at you!

Given the sheer number of fantastic poems that have been written across time by talented writers, we wish we could talk about each and every one of them. Sadly, there just isn't enough time in the day for that. Instead, we've narrowed our list down to five of our favorite famous poets, each incredibly influential in their own right.

We hope this article - published during National Poetry Month - will inspire you to seek out more great poetry in the future and maybe even write some of your own. Happy reading!

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1. Langston Hughes

"He made that poor piano moan with melody.

O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool

He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool."

--from "The Weary Blues"

One of the most prolific people in the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes lived from 1902 to 1967. As a poet, playwright, essayist, and novelist, Hughes' goal was to avoid "sentimental idealization and negative stereotypes" and honestly portray Black working-class people.

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2. Emily Dickinson

"'Hope' is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -"

--from "'Hope' is the thing with feathers"

Emily Dickinson was a 19th century poet and lived from 1830 to 1886. While many people know Dickinson for her reclusive behavior, the way she changed and shaped poetry had far more of an impact. Unfortunately, she never lived to see any of her work published.

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3. Sylvia Plath

"All night your moth-breath

Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:

A far sea moves in my ear."

--from "Morning Song"

Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) was only 30 when she passed away, but she left quite an impact on the literary community. Her poetry collection, Ariel, makes her perhaps the most known 20th century woman poet. Unfortunately, some of the authenticity of works and journals were destroyed by her soon-to-be ex-husband, Ted Hughes.

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4. Maya Angelou

"Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise."

--from "Still I Rise"

Maya Angelou (1928–2014) is one of the most famous poets and biographers of the 20th century. She had a broad career throughout her life, which included working as a civil rights activist, Hollywood's first black female director, a singer, dancer, and editor.

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5. Robert Frost

"He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbours.'"

--from "Mending Wall"

Robert Frost was an American poet who lived from 1874 to 1963. He never really subscribed to a poetry movement, mixing both classic and modern poetic forms to create his own style.

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