Choosing a Poet
Directions: Pick a poet you have not studied in great depth before. Please talk to me if you want to do a poet not on this list. Good sites for looking at poems, besides Google, are www.poets.org, http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/archive.php, http://www.poetryfoundation.org, or www.poetryoutloud.org.
1. William Shakespeare (1564-1616): More than 100 love sonnets.
2. John Donne (1572-1631): One of England’s metaphysical poets.
3. John Milton (1608-1674): Dreamlike, abstract poems of life and death.
4. Anne Bradstreet (c. 1612-1672): Early American poems in a woman’s voice.
5. Phillis Wheatley (1753- 1784): The first published African-American poet.
6. William Wordsworth (1770-1850): A poet of nature and beauty.
7. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849): Dark poems about death, love, and macabre topics.
8. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892): Lyric poetry that tells stories of love and conflict.
9. Walt Whitman (1819-1892): Earthy, human poems; also Civil War poems.
10. Matthew Arnold (1822-1888): Formal, sentimental poems with deep themes.
11. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886): Sparse, pure, spiritual rhymed verse.
12. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928): Old-fashioned verse about love and death.
14. Paul Lawrence
15. Robert Frost (1874-1963): He goes much deeper than “The Road Not Taken.”
16. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926): An elegiac German poet with deep emotion.
17. Carl Sandburg (1878-1967): Evocative poems about
18. Wallace Stevens (1879-1955): Poems with complex diction and imagination.
19. William Carlos Williams (1883-1963): Clear, simple, searing images.
20. Ezra Pound (1885-1972): Impressionistic, music-like poetry.
21. Anna Akmahtova (1888-1966): One of Russia’s best poets.
22. Claude McKay (1889-1948): Perspectives on African-American life in the 1920s.
23. Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918): A poignant poet of World War I.
25. Wilfred Owen (1893-1918): War poems of World War I.
26. e.e. cummings (1894-1962): Reflective, with interesting punctuation & capitals.
27. Jean Toomer (1894-1967): Poems yearning for brotherhood among races.
28. Langston Hughes (1902-1967): Jazzy poems from the Harlem Renaissance.
30. Countee Cullen (1903-1946): Old-fashioned poetry during the Harlem Renaissance.
31. Pablo Neruda (1904-1973): Known for his Spanish love poems.
32. W.H. Auden (1907-1973): Political and moral poems about important issues.
33. Josephine Jacobsen (1908-2003): Poems about nature and life.
34. Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79): Sharp, precise poems about people and places.
35. Dylan Thomas (1914-1953): A dramatic figure himself who wrote lyrical poetry.
36. Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000): Many rhymed poems about social issues.
37. Richard Wilbur (1921- ): Poetry with complex diction about deep issues.
38. A.R. Ammons (1926-2001): A combination of nature and spirit.
39. W.S. Merwin (1927- ): Reflective, thoughtful poems about memory.
40. Maya Angelou (1928 - ): Poems of persistence and strength.
41. Donald Hall (1928- ): A “country poet” in the tradition of Robert Frost.
42. Sonia Sanchez (1934- ): Strong viewpoints about being African-American.
43. Mary Oliver (1935- ): The joy found in the smallest details of life and nature.
44. Marge Piercy (1936- ): Carefully structured, down-to-earth modern poems.
45. Seamus Heaney (1939- ): From
46. Robert Pinsky (1940- ): Former poet laureate; plain talk, stories, and imagery.
47. Billy Collins (1941- ): Former poet laureate of the
48. Nikki Giovanni (1943- ): Conversational, approachable poetry.
49. Jane Kenyon (1947-1995): Poems about finding the meaning in everyday life.
50. Gary Soto (1952- ): The experiences of Mexican-Americans in
51. Ana Castillo (1953-): Forceful poems about being a Mexican-American poet.
52. Sandra Cisneros (1954- ): Reflective poems about being a Latina in America.
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