Favorite PoetsWho is your favorite poet and why? I debated whether to pose the question as What is your favorite poem? or Who is your favorite poet? I decided to go with the latter, as I...

Favorite Poets

Who is your favorite poet and why?

I debated whether to pose the question as What is your favorite poem? or Who is your favorite poet? I decided to go with the latter, as I personally feel it is easier to identify an affinity towards one person's poetic style rather than pinpointing a particular poem that I prize above all others.

Post here and share your favorite poets and their words! (I'm off to whittle down my own list and see what I come up with.)


Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her poems are so intensely personal and the emotions they express and then evoke in the reader are both deep and universal. "The Spring and the Fall" comes to mind, with its closing couplet:

'Tis not love's going hurts my days

But that it went in little ways.

The truth and poignancy in this poem appeal to anyone, regardless of age, who has experienced the dissolution of love.

Also full of raw emotion are "Dirge Without Music," "God's World," "Lament," and "Spring." The emotional range shown in these poems speaks to Millay's sensitivity and passion; her voice is strong and unequivocal. Her poetry expresses the joy, as well as the despair, of living. In "God's World," she writes of spring:

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Lord, I do fear

Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.

My soul is all but out of me--

However, of spring she also writes:

To what purpose, April, do you return again?

Beauty is not enough.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,


Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

The contrast in these two poems suggests the depth and complexity of Millay's emotional life--and perhaps our own, as well.



brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Raymond Carver, though I'm biased, as he's from my hometown.  His favorite poet was Anton Chekhov, and he writes from a similar vein or dark sarcasm, hopelessness, yet beauty. From "What the Doctor Said"

He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My favorite is Edmund Spenser. There is such majesty in his work. (I know The Faerie Queene is his most notable work but all his work sings.)  He is able to tap into the rhythm of emotion through the rhythm of his verse; he can build or dissolve tension by a change in vowels and consonants; the images he paints live forever in the imagination; he incorporates larger philosophical and cosmological schemes into his writing (like the Equinoxes in Epithalamion). Some of my favorites are Epithalamion, Muiopotmos (I once wrote a 30 line mimetic poem from Muiopotmos), and his Amoretti, which culminate in Epithalamion.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is hard for me to pick a "favorite" anything (author, movie, food, anything) as I tend to enjoy things in seasons.  Lately, I've been in a Billy Collins season.  I picked up a CD recently of one of his recorded readings, and something about hearing him read his own poetry made me love it.  It is like that with many authors, I've found.  When I hear them read their works in their voice, I can appreciate things I often miss on my own.

Anyway, I like Billy Collins for his simple and subtle humor and his sense of self in his poetry.

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rodney Jones has to be my pick for the moment. He captures the essence of the South as no one else does, and in a literate, artful way. He defies the stereotypes of ignorance and intolerance that the term "Southern Lit" sometimes carries with it, and for that, he is my pick for favorite poet.

Billy Collins would be a close second. Maybe the two could get together and hold a "poetry civil war" of sorts -- North vs. South: who will win round 2?

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think I'll go with A. E. Housman.  I really love the rhythms of his poetry and I think that his work is so evocative.  I wish he were a touch more upbeat every now and then, but that doesn't really detract from my enjoyment of his work.

My favorite poem of his is probably "Loveliest of trees,the cherry now..."  I love how it combines his appreciation of nature with a mourning of the fleeting and transient character of our lives.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My favorite poet is Robert Frost.  I think it's because he was my dad's favorite poet, and I listened to my dad reading his poems growing up.  They have a special emotional appeal for me, but they also appeal to me for the same reasons they appealed to him: focus on nature, imagery, and beautiful language.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I adore Pablo Neruda.  Not only is his poetry beautiful (although some of the beauty is probably lost in translation from Spanish to English), but he has a fantastic sense of humor and fun.  My favorites are "Ode to My Socks" and his love sonnets.  So much fun, and the students really dig him.  :)

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've always loved the unusual structure of the poetry of e e cummings. They are fun to dissect and intellectually challenging at the same time. "buffalo bill's" and "my sweet old etcetera" are my personal favorites. Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Field and Vachel Lindsay are other favorites. 

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I enjoy so many poems and poets, but I especially appreciate the work of Seamus Heaney. He is simple without being simplistic, and I always feel the crags and peat moss of the moors when I read him--even when he's not writing about his native people and places.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love Emily Dickinson.  So seemingly simple on a surface glance, but so much more when I spend the time to really work out all of the details.  She is downright frustrating sometimes and I LOVE that! Her poetry is so worth the effort.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Probably a tie between Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson for me: the darker side of the feminine mind is always fascinating!

eli468 | Student

My favorite poet is most definitely Lang Leav. She has such a beautiful way with words that makes me feel like I know the exact emotions she's trying to convey. She also writes about things that can be very relatable. Her diction is absolutely amazing. I enjoy her poetry so much I actually wound up with two copies of her first poetry book called," Love and Misadventure."

kihiray | Student

I used to think Shakespeare was all in love poetry;that was in kindergarten,till i reached high school and read Elizabeth Barret's sonnet  How do I Love Thee? upon reading it,i fell in love for the first time.

But i came to believe,earlier poets had good ideas but the only reason why many people of this age don't really beseech their work is that it was in olden English,thanks to to some considerate scholars nowadays,we can understand most of their content and love them more than we had thought.