Top 10 poets?

I have to admit that I am not a big poetry reader. I prefer the meatiness of a novel. But I do harbor fond feelings for particular poets who have really moved me.

For me, a poem has to ultimately be about an emotion, and a good poem stirs emotion in the reader. The poem is such a condensed form that it really needs to be precise, to evoke an image fully, and then connect that image to an emotion, but not in an obvious way. A good poem is truly “in the moment.”

I recently read an interesting article about ranking the best poets ever. I can’t see how a list of top 10 poets can be anything but subjective. It’s all about who moves you.

Here is my personal list of my favorite poets (I’m not numbering them because I can’t put them in hierarchical order–they are all great):

I’m sure I’m missing many great poets because I haven’t been exposed to them. Who are your favorite poets?

Let me leave you with this wonderful poem by William Carlos Williams:

Spring and All

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind.  Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter.  All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens:  clarity, outline of leaf
But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them:  rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

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