They had insured for themselves a place in history by putting down their thoughts and passions into words. What follows is a brief list of famous poets who have immortalized themselves for all time on the printed page.
William Blake (November 28, 1757- August 12, 1827)
Something of a mystic, English poet and painter William Blake claimed that he derived his works (such as his method of engraving pictures and words on copper plates) from divine inspiration. His radical views on religion and science among other things had damaged his reputation as an artist, and it was only after his death that future generations rediscovered his work and reappraised his talent. “Songs of Innocence,” Blake’s 1789 collection of poetry and art include the poems “The Lamb,” “The Tiger,” “Little Boy Lost” and “Little Boy Found.”
Robert Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
One of the principal American poets of the 20th century, Robert Frost had been awarded four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry, which was inspired by rural life in New England, and often explored complex social issues and philosophical matters. Among Frost’s most renowned works are the poems “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken.”
Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)
An introvert by nature, American poet Emily Dickinson wrote around 1,800 poems, but only seven of them had been published during her lifetime. Remaining relatively obscure in life, her work would only gain prominence years after her death. Dubbed “The Nun of Amherst” for her reclusive ways and for never having married, she is most known for her poems about death and immortality, although she also wrote about faith and nature.
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849)
A foremost figure of the American Romantic Movement, Edgar Allan Poe is of course known for his short stories and poems dealing with dark and morbid themes. He is considered to be the father of detective fiction as well as an early contributor to the then-aborning science fiction genre. Known for suspenseful tales such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe’s macabre poems include “Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “The Raven.”
William Shakespeare (baptised April 26, 1564 – died April 23, 1616)
Known as “The Bard of Avon,” the revered English poet and playwright William Shakespeare is renowned throughout history as the greatest writer in English literature and drama, and is considered as England’s national poet. His celebrated and oft-quoted body of work include 38 plays, 154 sonnets and other various poems. Alongside Shakespeare’s most famous works such as the plays “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet,” he has written the two erotic narrative poems “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece.”
Oscar Wilde (October 16. 1854- November 30, 1900)
A celebrity in Victorian era London, Irish dramatist, author and poet Oscar Wilde was one of the most successful literary figures of his time. Famous for his sharp wit, Wilde is famous for novels such as “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” and his poetry include “The Sphinx,” “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” and “To My Wife-With a Copy of My Poems.”
Some of them were celebrated during their day. The rest of them would not live to see their talent get their due. But they shall live on through the poetry which has outlived them, and the legacy of these famous poets shall endure for as long as the written word exists to move and inspire generations hence.