We all know poets such as William Shakespeare who really helped develop the English language and more modern poets like Carol Ann Duffy who is famous for poetry about feminism; however, there are plenty of poets who we often overlook even though they are some of the most influential. Here are some of the most influential poets around and the messages they tried to convey.
1. T.S. Eliot
Eliot was around during the late 1800s and the 1900s and some of his most famous work includes ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ and ‘The Waste Land’. Eliot began his poetry around the time of World War I and was part of the Modernist Revolution after the war. When we think of influential poets, T.S Eliot is not a name that automatically comes to mind, but his writing was certainly something influential.
2. William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley was alive during the 1800s and early 1900s and one of his most famous pieces of work was ‘Invictus’. He had a close friendship with Robert Louis Stevenson and the character Long John Silver in Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ was based on Henley. Henley stayed in hospital in Edinburgh for almost two years and during this time his writing was based on hospital life.
3. William Blake
William was a poet born in London in the 1700s; his first collection of printed work was ‘Poetical Sketches’ in 1783. William Blake’s wrote his poetry during the Romantic Movement and his work began to influence many writers and artists during the Modernist period.
4. Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe was an American abolitionist in the 1800s and is most famous for writing the poem ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’. She fought for a long time for women’s rights and she wanted all women to come together; after a long time, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson finally declared the first Mother’s Day due to the acts of Anna Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe.
5. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry was an American poet and professor during the 1800s, the Romantic Movement. One of his most famous pieces of work includes ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’. He was known for developing a lot of lyric poetry and he was very famous during his day, but his popularity declined not too long after his death. His work inspired much of America’s artistic culture and his poems were often recited.
Even though we don’t think about these poets when we think about influential people, it doesn’t mean they aren’t influential. Each of these poets has done something that has influenced people or an entire era in one way or another.
About the Author:
Candy Wright enjoys poetry, both reading and writing it. She also loves to order new books and she gets excited when the book boxes get posted through the door!