Poetry is a form of artistic expression. Poetry is one of the most honored form of literature. Reading and writing poetry was a deeply personal and rewarding experience for the top 7 poets in the history of United States.
Poetry has always been an integral part of literature of America, and the United States has produced some of the greatest poets in history. From the early 19th century to the present day, American poets have captivated readers with their unique styles, themes, and perspectives.
In this article, we will be highlighting the top 7 poets in the history of United States.
So let’s get started…
Table of Contents
1. Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was a remarkable American poet who revolutionized the literary world with his unique writing style, advocacy for social justice, and celebration of the individual.
He was born in 1819 in West Hills, New York and was the second of nine children. His most famous work, “Leaves of Grass,” remains an incredible masterpiece of American literature that explores a wide range of themes and depicts the beauty and diversity in America.
Despite facing criticism and controversy during his lifetime, Whitman’s work has gained widespread recognition and acclaim, confirming his place as one of the most influential and celebrated poets in American history.
His legacy continues to inspire readers and writers alike, and his contributions to literature and social justice serve as a testament to the enduring power of words and ideas. This is why, he is now considered as one among the top 7 poets in the history of United States.
2. Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop was a gifted poet and prose writer whose works explored themes of loss, identity, and the human relationship to nature.
The way she represent the precise and detailed descriptions of the natural world are considered some of the most beautiful and evocative in American literature.
Bishop’s poetry was deeply personal, often reflecting her own struggles with mental illness and alcoholism. Despite these challenges, she remained dedicated to her craft, spending years perfecting her poems and stories until they were just right.
Bishop’s contributions to American literature were recognized throughout her career, and she was awarded numerous prizes and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Today, Bishop’s poetry and prose continue to inspire readers around the world, and her dedication to her craft serves as a testament to the power of art and the human spirit.
3. Robert Frost
Robert Frost was a renowned American poet, born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, United States. His father, William Prescott Frost Jr., died when Frost was only eleven years old, after which he moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts with his mother and sister.
Frost developed an interest in poetry during his high school years and attended Dartmouth College and Harvard University, but never earned a formal degree.
After leaving school, Frost worked as a teacher, cobbler, and editor before his first published poem, “My Butterfly”, appeared in 1894.
In 1912, Frost and his wife Elinor moved to England, where he was influenced by British poets like Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. He established a friendship with the poet Ezra Pound, who helped promote and publish his work.
Robert Frost returned to the US in 1915 with two full-length collections of poetry, “A Boy’s Will” (1913) and “North of Boston” (1914), which established his reputation.
He became the most celebrated poet in America by the 1920s, and his fame and honors, including four Pulitzer Prizes, increased with each new book. Frost served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress from 1958 to 1959 and was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in 1962.
Throughout his life, Frost was inspired by his wife Elinor, who died in 1938. His poetry often explored rural life, the natural world, and human relationships, and his writing style was characterized by simple language and vivid imagery.
4. Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was an American poet, storyteller, activist, autobiographer, and a Renaissance woman who excelled in various fields such as singing, dancing, composing, and directing.
However, she is most known for her writing as a novelist, essayist, and poet. She also worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in the Civil Rights movement and served on two presidential committees for Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
Angelou was recognized as a spokesperson for those committed to raising the moral standards of living in the United States.
Angelou’s most popular work is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, which narrates her early years in Long Beach, St. Louis, and Stamps, Arkansas, where she lived with her brother and grandmother. The book deals with themes of race, sexual abuse, and violence, and has faced controversy.
Angelou’s six autobiographies, including Gather Together in My Name, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, and All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, are episodic, and the events are arranged to emphasize themes.
Her books are also innovative in that she uses fictional writing techniques in them. Angelou was awarded over 50 honorary degrees and received the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
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5. Langston Hughes
James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.
Langston Hughes was one of the pioneers of the jazz poetry art form and is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. His first and last published poems appeared in The Crisis, where more of his poems were published than in any other journal.
His life and work were highly influential during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, along with his contemporaries Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, Countee Cullen, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Aaron Douglas.
They tried to depict the real lives of black people in their art, and criticized the divisions and prejudices based on skin color within the black community.
In contrast to the black middle class who they criticized for accommodating eurocentric values and culture to achieve social equality.
Hughes’ signature poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” was first published in 1921 in The Crisis and was collected in his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues. Hughes’ essay, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” which he wrote in 1926 and was published in The Nation, served as their manifesto.
6. Robert Lowell
Robert Lowell, born into a prominent Boston family in 1917, attended Harvard and Kenyon College where he studied poetry.
His first two books, Land of Unlikeness and Lord Weary’s Castle, were influenced by his conversion to Catholicism and explored America’s Puritan legacy.
His poetry, under the influence of Allen Tate and the New Critics, drew praise for its exceptional use of meter and rhyme. Lowell was politically active and a conscientious objector during World War II, resulting in imprisonment.
He was also an active protester against the Vietnam War, and his personal life was filled with turmoil, including severe episodes of manic depression that led to hospitalization.
In the mid-1950s, influenced by younger poets such as W. D. Snodgrass and Allen Ginsberg, Lowell began writing more directly from personal experience, loosening his adherence to traditional meter and form. This shift led to his watershed collection, Life Studies, which changed the landscape of modern poetry.
Considered one of the most important poets of the second half of the 20th century, Lowell continued to evolve his work, though not always consistently, until his sudden death from a heart attack at age sixty. Lowell served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1962 until his death.
7. Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath, a renowned poet and novelist, was born in 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father, a professor of German and biology, died of diabetes when she was eight years old, leaving a lasting impact on her relationships and poetry.
Plath began writing poetry at a young age and published her first national publication in the Christian Science Monitor in 1950. She later graduated summa cum laude from Smith College in 1955, after which she moved to Cambridge, England, on a Fulbright Scholarship.
There, she met the English poet Ted Hughes at a party and married him in 1956. Plath returned to Massachusetts in 1957 to study with Robert Lowell and published her first collection of poems, Colossus, in 1960.
She then had two children, Frieda and Nicholas, in 1960 and 1962, respectively, while living in England. However, Hughes left her for Assia Gutmann Wevill in 1962.
During the winter of 1962, Plath wrote many of the poems that would later become her most famous book, Ariel. The following year, she published a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.
Unfortunately, she died by suicide on February 11, 1963. Her father’s death and her tumultuous relationships had a significant impact on her life and literary works, which continue to inspire readers today.
This was all about the top 7 poets in the history of United States.
FAQ : Related to Top 7 Poets in the History of United States
Que. Who are the top 7 poets in the history of United States ?
Ans. Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath should deserve a place among the top 7 poets in the history of United States.
Que. Who is the greatest poet in American history ?
Ans. Walt Whitman is considered one of the greatest poet in American History. His verse collection, Leaves of Grass, is a landmark in the history of American literature.
Que. Who is known as the national poet of America ?
Ans. According to Wikipedia, Walt Whitman is often described as America’s national poet, creating an image of the United States for itself.
Who is your favorite poets of United States ?
Let me know about your favorite poets in the comments below. Do you think, some of the other poets deserve to be in the list of the top 7 poets in the history of United States.