Poetry — one of the most important and time-honored forms of literature in the world — brought us greats like William Shakespeare and W.B. Yeats to ancient poets like Homer and Dante Alighieri to American treasures like Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson.

With research from Poetry Soup and Ranker, here are the 34 greatest poets of all time, not ranked in any particular order.

Edgar Allen Poe

Birthplace: Boston

Famous poem: ”The Raven”

Famous quote: ”I have great faith in fools — self-confidence my friends call it.”

William Shakespeare

Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Famous poem: ”Sonnet XVIII” (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?)

Famous quote: ”All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts. His acts being seven ages.”

Maya Angelou

Birthplace: St. Louis

Famous poem: ”On the Pulse of Morning”

Famous quote: ”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Emily Dickinson

Birthplace: Amherst, Massachusetts

Famous poem: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers”

Famous quote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words — and never stops at all.”

Shel Silverstein

Birthplace: Chicago

Famous poem: “Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Famous quote: ”What I do is good. I wouldn’t let it out if I didn’t think it was.”

Robert Frost

Birthplace: San Francisco

Famous poem: “The Road Not Taken”

Famous quote: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Pablo Neruda

Birthplace: Parral, Chile

Famous poem: “I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You”

Famous quote: “To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.”

E. E. Cummings

Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Famous poem: “i carry your heart with me”

Famous quote: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Langston Hughes

Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri

Famous poem: “I Too Sing America”

Famous quote: “Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”

Walt Whitman

Birthplace: Long Island, New York

Famous poem: “I Hear America Singing”

Famous quote: “Either define the moment or the moment will define you.”

Thomas Hardy

Birthplace: Dorset, England

Famous poem: “Hap”

Famous quote: “The main object of religion is not to get a man into heaven, but to get heaven into him.”

Rudyard Kipling

Birthplace: Bombay Presidency, British India

Famous poem: “Gunga Din”

Famous quote: “We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”

Oscar Wilde

Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Famous poem: “A Vision”

Famous quote: “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

John Keats

Birthplace: London

Famous poem: “A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)”

Famous quote: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Birthplace: Durham, England

Famous poem: “How Do I Love Thee?”

Famous quote: “If you desire faith, then you have faith enough.”

William Blake

Birthplace: London

Famous poem: “The Tyger”

Famous quote: “The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.”

Sylvia Plath

Birthplace: Boston

Famous poem: “Daddy”

Famous quote: “Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Birthplace: Portland, Maine

Famous poem: “The Song of Hiawatha”

Famous quote: “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

William Wordsworth

Birthplace: Cumberland, England

Famous poem: “The Prelude”

Famous quote: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

Mark Twain

Birthplace: Florida, Missouri

Famous poem: “Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d.”

Famous quote: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Birthplace: Boston

Famous poem: “Uriel”

Famous quote: “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”

John Donne

Birthplace: London

Famous poem: “No Man Is An Island”

Famous quote: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

W.B. Yeats

Birthplace: County Dublin, Ireland

Famous poem: “The Second Coming”

Famous quote: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

Lord Byron

Birthplace: London

Famous poem: “She Walks in Beauty”

Famous quote: “There is no instinct like that of the heart.”

Lewis Carroll

Birthplace: Cheshire, England

Famous poem: “Jabberwocky”

Famous quote: “It is one of the great secrets of life that those things which are most worth doing, we do for others.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England

Famous poem: “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

Famous quote: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.”

Dante Alighieri

Birthplace: Florence, Italy

Famous poem: “Divine Comedy”

Famous quote: “Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.”

T.S. Eliot

Birthplace: St. Louis

Famous poem: “The Waste Land”

Famous quote: “Friendship should be more than biting time can sever.”

Ezra Pound

Birthplace: Hailey, Idaho

Famous poem: “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley”

Famous quote: “With one day’s reading a man may have the key in his hands.”

John Milton

Birthplace: London

Famous poem: “Paradise Lost”

Famous quote: “A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit.”


Birthplace: Lesbos, Greece

Famous poem: “Sappho 31”

Famous quote: “What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.”


Birthplace: Smyrna (present-day Greece)

Famous poem: “The Iliad”

Famous quote: “Evil deeds do not prosper; the slow man catches up with the swift.”

Li Bai

Birthplace: Tang Empire (present-day Kyrgyzstan)

Famous poem: “Quiet Night Thought”

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Famous quote: “We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.”

Jalal al-Din Rumi

Birthplace: Khorasan (present-day Afghanistan)

Famous poem: “Masnavi-ye Ma’navi (Spiritual Verses)”

Famous quote: “Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

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