If you’re a poet and you know it, you’re someone who writes poems. Poets have been charming people with their words ever since Orpheus sang his way to Hades and back.

A poet is a writer who regularly publishes poems, but a poet can also be anyone who uses language creatively. Try it! The root of poet can be traced back to the Greek poein, "to make." Some poets write in carefully metered, rhyming lines, while others compose looser prose poems or "free verse," and the very best poets convey something that's essential or true. The Romantic poet William Wordsworth described good poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”

Definitions of poet

n a writer of poems (the term is usually reserved for writers of good poetry)

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Greek lyric poet of Lesbos; reputed inventor of Alcaic verse (611-580 BC)
Wilhelm Apollinaris de Kostrowitzki
French poet; precursor of surrealism (1880-1918)
Matthew Arnold
English poet and literary critic (1822-1888)
Hans Arp
Alsatian artist and poet who was cofounder of dadaism in Zurich; noted for abstract organic sculptures (1887-1966)
Wystan Hugh Auden
United States poet (born in England) (1907-1973)
Charles Pierre Baudelaire
a French poet noted for macabre imagery and evocative language (1821-1867)
Stephen Vincent Benet
United States poet; brother of William Rose Benet (1898-1943)
William Blake
visionary British poet and painter (1757-1827)
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok
Russian poet (1880-1921)
Giovanni Boccaccio
Italian poet (born in France) (1313-1375)
Anne Dudley Bradstreet
poet in colonial America (born in England) (1612-1672)
Bertolt Brecht
German dramatist and poet who developed a style of epic theater (1898-1956)
Rupert Brooke
English lyric poet (1887-1915)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
English poet best remembered for love sonnets written to her husband Robert Browning (1806-1861)
Robert Browning
English poet and husband of Elizabeth Barrett Browning noted for his dramatic monologues (1812-1889)
Robert Burns
celebrated Scottish poet (1759-1796)
Samuel Butler
English poet (1612-1680)
Sixth Baron Byron of Rochdale
English romantic poet notorious for his rebellious and unconventional lifestyle (1788-1824)
Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Spanish poet and dramatist considered one of the great Spanish writers (1600-1681)
Giosue Carducci
Italian poet considered the national poet of modern Italy (1835-1907)
Thomas Carew
Englishman and Cavalier poet whose lyric poetry was favored by Charles I (1595-1639)
Gaius Valerius Catullus
Roman lyric poet remembered for his love poems to an aristocratic Roman woman (84-54 BC)
Geoffrey Chaucer
English poet remembered as author of the Canterbury Tales (1340-1400)
John Anthony Ciardi
United States poet and critic (1916-1986)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
English romantic poet (1772-1834)
Pierre Corneille
French tragic dramatist whose plays treat grand moral themes in elegant verse (1606-1684)
William Cowper
English poet who wrote hymns and poetry about nature (1731-1800)
Harold Hart Crane
United States poet (1899-1932)
Anglo-Saxon poet (circa 9th century)
Dante Alighieri
an Italian poet famous for writing the Divine Comedy that describes a journey through Hell and purgatory and paradise guided by Virgil and his idealized Beatrice (1265-1321)
Walter John de la Mare
English poet remembered for his verse for children (1873-1956)
Emily Dickinson
United States poet noted for her mystical and unrhymed poems (1830-1886)
John Donne
English clergyman and metaphysical poet celebrated as a preacher (1572-1631)
John Dryden
the outstanding poet and dramatist of the Restoration (1631-1700)
Thomas Stearns Eliot
British poet (born in the United States) who won the Nobel prize for literature; his plays are outstanding examples of modern verse drama (1888-1965)
Edward Fitzgerald
English poet remembered primarily for his free translation of the poetry of Omar Khayyam (1809-1883)
Robert Lee Frost
United States poet famous for his lyrical poems on country life in New England (1874-1963)
Frederico Garcia Lorca
Spanish poet and dramatist who was shot dead by Franco's soldiers soon after the start of the Spanish Civil War (1898-1936)
William Schwenk Gilbert
a librettist who was a collaborator with Sir Arthur Sullivan in a famous series of comic operettas (1836-1911)
Allen Ginsberg
United States poet of the beat generation (1926-1997)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
German poet and novelist and dramatist who lived in Weimar (1749-1832)
Luis de Gongora y Argote
a Spanish poet whose work was characterized by an affected elegance of style (1561-1627)
Thomas Gray
English poet best known for his elegy written in a country churchyard (1716-1771)
Robert Herrick
English lyric poet (1591-1674)
Greek poet whose existing works describe rural life and the genealogies of the gods and the beginning of the world (eighth century BC)
Hugo von Hoffmannsthal
German poet who wrote libretti for operas by Richard Strauss (1874-1929)
James Hogg
Scottish writer of rustic verse (1770-1835)
ancient Greek epic poet who is believed to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey (circa 850 BC)
Gerard Manley Hopkins
English poet (1844-1889)
Roman lyric poet said to have influenced English poetry (65-8 BC)
Alfred Edward Housman
English poet (1859-1936)
Edward James Hughes
English poet (born in 1930)
Victor-Marie Hugo
French poet and novelist and dramatist; leader of the romantic movement in France (1802-1885)
Henrik Johan Ibsen
realistic Norwegian author who wrote plays on social and political themes (1828-1906)
Randall Jarrell
United States poet (1914-1965)
John Robinson Jeffers
United States poet who wrote about California (1887-1962)
Juan Ramon Jimenez
Spanish lyric poet (1881-1958)
Benjamin Jonson
English dramatist and poet who was the first real poet laureate of England (1572-1637)
Erik Axel Karlfeldt
Swedish poet whose works incorporate Swedish customs and folklore (1864-1931)
John Keats
Englishman and romantic poet (1795-1821)
Francis Scott Key
United States lawyer and poet who wrote a poem after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812; the poem was later set to music and entitled `The Star-Spangled Banner' (1779-1843)
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
German poet (1724-1803)
Nicholas Vachel Lindsay
United States poet who traveled the country trading his poems for room and board (1879-1931)
Li Po
Chinese lyric poet (700-762)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
United States poet remembered for his long narrative poems (1807-1882)
Richard Lovelace
English poet (1618-1857)
Amy Lowell
United States poet (1874-1925)
Robert Traill Spence Lowell Jr.
United States poet (1917-1977)
Titus Lucretius Carus
Roman philosopher and poet; in a long didactic poem he tried to provide a scientific explanation of the universe (96-55 BC)
Archibald MacLeish
United States poet (1892-1982)
Stephane Mallarme
French symbolist poet noted for his free verse (1842-1898)
Osip Emilevich Mandelstam
Russian poet who died in a prison camp (1891-1938)
Giambattista Marini
Italian poet (1569-1625)
Christopher Marlowe
English poet and playwright who introduced blank verse as a form of dramatic expression; was stabbed to death in a tavern brawl (1564-1593)
Jose Julian Marti
Cuban poet and revolutionary who fought for Cuban independence from Spain (1853-1895)
Roman poet noted for epigrams (first century BC)
Andrew Marvell
English poet (1621-1678)
John Edward Masefield
English poet (1878-1967)
Edgar Lee Masters
United States poet (1869-1950)
Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovski
Soviet poet; leader of Russian futurism (1893-1930)
George Meredith
English novelist and poet (1828-1909)
John Milton
English poet; remembered primarily as the author of an epic poem describing humanity's fall from grace (1608-1674)
Marianne Craig Moore
United States poet noted for irony and wit (1887-1872)
Thomas Moore
Irish poet who wrote nostalgic and patriotic verse (1779-1852)
William Morris
English poet and craftsman (1834-1896)
Louis Charles Alfred de Musset
French poet and writer (1810-1857)
Neftali Ricardo Reyes
Chilean poet (1904-1973)
Alfred Noyes
English poet (1880-1958)
Omar Khayyam
Persian poet and mathematician and astronomer whose poetry was popularized by Edward Fitzgerald's translation (1050-1123)
Publius Ovidius Naso
Roman poet remembered for his elegiac verses on love (43 BC - AD 17)
Francis Turner Palgrave
English poet (1824-1897)
Francesco Petrarca
an Italian poet famous for love lyrics (1304-1374)
Greek lyric poet remembered for his odes (518?-438? BC)
Sylvia Plath
United States writer and poet (1932-1963)
Edgar Allan Poe
United States writer and poet (1809-1849)
Alexander Pope
English poet and satirist (1688-1744)
Ezra Loomis Pound
United States writer who lived in Europe; strongly influenced the development of modern literature (1885-1972)
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin
Russian poet (1799-1837)
Jean Baptiste Racine
French advocate of Jansenism; tragedian who based his works on Greek and Roman themes (1639-1699)
James Whitcomb Riley
United States poet (1849-1916)
Rainer Maria Rilke
German poet (born in Austria) whose imagery and mystic lyricism influenced 20th-century German literature (1875-1926)
Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud
French poet whose work influenced the surrealists (1854-1891)
Edwin Arlington Robinson
United States poet; author of narrative verse (1869-1935)
Edmond Rostand
French dramatist and poet whose play immortalized Cyrano de Bergerac (1868-1918)
Alan Seeger
United States poet killed in World War I (1888-1916)
Anne Sexton
United States poet (1928-1974)
William Shakespeare
English poet and dramatist considered one of the greatest English writers (1564-1616)
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Englishman and romantic poet (1792-1822)
Taras Grigoryevich Shevchenko
Ukranian poet (1814-1861)
Sir Philip Sidney
English poet (1554-1586)
Shelby Silverstein
United States poet and cartoonist remembered for his stories and poems for children (1932-1999)
Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell
English poet (1887-1964)
Robert Southey
English poet and friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge (1774-1843)
Sir Stephen Harold Spender
English poet and critic (1909-1995)
Edmund Spenser
English poet who wrote an allegorical romance celebrating Elizabeth I in the Spenserian stanza (1552-1599)
Wallace Stevens
United States poet (1879-1955)
Sir John Suckling
English poet and courtier (1609-1642)
Algernon Charles Swinburne
English poet (1837-1909)
Arthur Symons
English poet (1865-1945)
Edmund John Millington Synge
Irish poet and playwright whose plays are based on rural Irish life (1871-1909)
Torquato Tasso
Italian poet who wrote an epic poem about the capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade (1544-1595)
John Orley Allen Tate
United States poet and critic (1899-1979)
Sara Teasdale
United States poet (1884-1933)
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Englishman and Victorian poet (1809-1892)
Greek poet who is said to have originated Greek tragedy (sixth century BC)
Dylan Marlais Thomas
Welsh poet (1914-1953)
John Trumbull
American satirical poet (1750-1831)
Samuel Rosenstock
French poet (born in Romania) who was one of the cofounders of the dada movement (1896-1963)
Johann Ludwig Uhland
German romantic poet (1787-1862)
Paul Verlaine
French symbolist poet (1844-1896)
Francois Villon
French poet (flourished around 1460)
Publius Vergilius Maro
a Roman poet; author of the epic poem `Aeneid' (70-19 BC)
Andrei Voznesenski
Russian poet (born in 1933)
Robert Penn Warren
United States writer and poet (1905-1989)
Isaac Watts
English poet and theologian (1674-1748)
Phillis Wheatley
American poet (born in Africa) who was the first recognized Black writer in America (1753-1784)
Walt Whitman
United States poet who celebrated the greatness of America (1819-1892)
John Greenleaf Whittier
United States poet best known for his nostalgic poems about New England (1807-1892)
William Carlos Williams
United States poet (1883-1963)
William Wordsworth
a romantic English poet whose work was inspired by the Lake District where he spent most of his life (1770-1850)
Sir Thomas Wyatt
English poet who introduced the sonnet form to English literature (1503-1542)
Elinor Morton Hoyt Wylie
United States poet (1885-1928)
William Butler Yeats
Irish poet and dramatist (1865-1939)
Yevgeni Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko
Russian poet who expressed the feelings of the post-Stalinist generation (born in 1933)
Edward Young
English poet (1683-1765)
Edna Saint Vincent Millay
United States poet (1892-1950)
the Greek lyric poet of Lesbos; much admired although only fragments of her poetry have been preserved (6th century BC)
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a lyric poet
the author of a mournful poem lamenting the dead
a poet who writes odes
a woman poet
poet laureate
the poet officially appointed to the royal household in Great Britain
poet laureate
a poet who is unofficially regarded as holding an honorary position in a particular group or region
a poet who writes sonnets
Type of:
author, writer
writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay)

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