The Metaphysical poets wrote during the 17th century. Their poetry focused upon the metaphysical (abstract thought) and the investigation of abstract thought. For them, their works tended to focus upon abstract ideas such as existence and truth. (As a side note, the Metaphysical poets were named so by those outside of their "genre". They typically did not write to be metaphysical, they simply were.)
Characteristically, these poets used similes (comparison of two things using like or as), metaphors (comparison created not using like or as) and the concept of conceit (self pride). Influenced by Neo-Platonism, Metaphysical poets focused upon the importance of beauty in the after-life.
Inclusive in many of the Metaphysical poets was devotional-ism. According to John Donne, one of the Metaphysical poets, people should examine their personal religious convictions and not simply follow tradition simply because it has previously been established.
Therefore, the following poets are Metaphysical poets:
-John Donne (1572-1631)- Donne believed in the importance of finding ones self through self-examination. His heavy usage of metaphoric language exemplified his concern with defining abstract ideas.
-George Herbert (1593-1633)- Herbert was considered a Metaphysical poet given his use of imagery and "ingenious use of conceit" within his religious poetry.
-Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)- Crashaw was considered a Metaphysical poet given his use of metaphors ("Music's Duel") and concepts of beauty ("Carmen Deo nostro").