Most students will recognize the names of famous poets such as Edgar Allen Poe or William Shakespeare, but there is more to poetry than a few notable men. We’ve put together this list of incredible and diverse poets your students should know along with famous quotes and noteworthy poems. Be sure to take time to read this list of before sharing them with students to make sure these famous poets are suitable for your classroom.

Shel Silverstein (1930 – 1999)

Shel Silverstein

Source: Jerry Yulsman (given on back of dust jacket), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Famous quote: “What I do is good. I wouldn’t let it out if I didn’t think it was.”

Learn more: About Shel (official website)

Read it: “Dirty Face

Naomi Shihab Nye (1952 – )

Naomi Shihab Nye

Source: User:Micahd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.”

Learn more: About Naomi Shihab Nye (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “The Traveling Onion

Francisco X. Alarcón (1954 – 2016)

Color headshot of Francisco X. Alarcon with leaves in background.

Source: Francisco X. Alarcón, Free art license, via Wikipedia Commons

Famous quote: “I carry my roots with me all the time rolled up, I use them as my pillow.”

Learn more: Francisco X. Alarcón (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “Ode to My Shoes

Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990)

Roald Dahl

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Learn more: Roald Dahl (official website)

Read it: “The Tummy Beast

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

Antique photograph: Rudyard Kipling

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”

Learn more: Rudyard Kipling (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “If—

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

Maya Angelou

Source: York College ISLGP, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Learn more: Maya Angelou (official website)

Read it: “On the Pulse of Morning

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849)

Edgar Allan Poe

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: ”Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.”

Learn more: The Poe Museum

Read it: “The Raven

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906)

Black and white headshot of Paul Laurence Dunbar, as an example of famous poets kids should know.

Source: The African-American Experience in Ohio, Public domain, via Wikipedia Commons

Famous quote: “A minute to smile and an hour to weep in/ A pint of joy to a peck of trouble/ And never a laugh but the moans come double; And that is life!”

Learn more: About Paul Laurence Dunbar (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “We Wear the Mask

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

Black and white photograph of Emily Dickenson seated, as an example of famous poets kids should know

Source: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul—and sings the tunes without the words—and never stops at all.”

Learn more: Emily Dickinson Museum

Read it: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers

Amanda Gorman (1998 – )

Amanda Gorman

Source: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Learn more: About Amanda Gorman (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “The Hill We Climb

Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)

Black and white photograph of Robert Frost reading a manuscript.

Source: Fred Palumbo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Learn more: About Robert Frost (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “The Road Not Taken

Langston Hughes (1901 – 1967)

Black and white shadowy photograph of Langston Hughes

Source: Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

Learn more: About Langston Hughes (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “I Too (Sing America)

E.E. Cummings (1894 – 1962)

Black and white side view photograph of E. E. Cummings wearing jacket and hat with hands in pockets.

Source: Walter Albertin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous quote: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Learn more: E. E. Cummings (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “i carry your heart with me

Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973)

Pablo Neruda

Source: Flickr

Famous quote: “To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.”

Learn more: Pablo Neruda (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)

Portrait of famous authors from the past: Walt Whitman

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “Either define the moment or the moment will define you.”

Learn more: About Walt Whitman (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “I Hear America Singing

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “If you desire faith, then you have faith enough.”

Learn more: About Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

Portrait of William Blake

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”

Learn more: William Blake (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “The Tyger

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Signature, American Poet, Portrait, as an example of famous poets

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Learn more: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “The Children’s Hour

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

Portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), as an example of famous poets

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”

Learn more: Ralph Waldo Emerson (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “Uriel

John Keats (1796 – 1821)

Portrait of John Keats, Poet

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”

Learn more: John Keats (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

Li Bai (701 – 762)

Illustration of Li Bai, as an example of famous poets.

Source: Public domain, via Wikipedia Commons

Famous quote: “We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.”

Learn more: Li Bai (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “Quiet Night Thought

Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)

Outdoor portrait of George Gordon, Lord Byron, as an example of famous poets

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “There is no instinct like that of the heart.”

Learn more: Lord Byron (George Gordon) (Poetry Foundation)

Read it: “She Walks in Beauty

Sappho (~615 BCE – 550 BCE)

Sappho

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.”

Learn more: About Sappho (Academy of American Poets)

Read it: “Sappho 31

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

William Shakespeare - Antique Engraved Portrait, as an example of famous poets

Source: Getty Images

Famous quote: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts. His acts being seven ages.”

Learn more: William Shakespeare Biography (Arts Council England)

Read it: “Sonnet XVIII” (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?)

Did we miss your favorite poets? Share your favorites in the comments below. Also, check out 30 Famous Inventors Your Students Should Know.

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24 Famous Poets Your Students Should Know