21st Century Poets

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 1 
Maya Angelou
34
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.
 2 
Art Garfunkel
(Best Known for His Partnership with Paul Simon in the Folk Rock Duo 'Simon & Garfunkel')
Art Garfunkel
5
Birthdate: November 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Forest Hills, New York, United States
Eight-time Grammy winner Art Garfunkel is part of the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, along with Paul Simon. He has had a successful solo career, too. One of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, he also earned a Golden Globe nomination for playing Sandy in Carnal Knowledge.
 3 
Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
(Crown Prince of Dubai )
Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
5
Birthdate: November 14, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Crown Prince of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is the son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his senior wife, Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum. An alumnus of the London School of Economics, he writes poetry and is a skilled skydiver and a scuba diver.

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 4 
Patti Smith
(Known for Her Hit Single “Because the Night”)
Patti Smith
4
Birthdate: December 30, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Patti Smith is an American singer-songwriter. Referred to as the punk poet laureate, Smith became an influential figure of the punk rock movement with the release of her album Horses. Many world-renowned musicians, such as Madonna and Michael Stipe, have cited Smith as their inspiration. Even actresses like Ellen Page and Maria Doyle Kennedy have called Smith a major influence.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enugu, Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 6 
Donovan
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer)
Donovan
9
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

 7 
Misha Collins
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Castiel’ in the TV Series 'Supernatural')
Misha Collins
6
Birthdate: August 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Misha Collins is best known for playing Castiel and other characters in the series Supernatural. He is also a poet and has co-authored a cookbook with his wife. He has established the charity Random Acts and the GISHWHES. He has also written an academic paper on the structure of shapes.
 8 
Alice Walker
(The First African-American Woman to Win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Alice Walker
5
Birthdate: February 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eatonton, Georgia, United States
Author Alice Walker is best known for her National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. She is credited with coining the term womanist, to mean feminist of color. Her marriage with Melvyn Roseman Leventhal was the first official interracial marriage in the state of Mississippi.
 9 
James Avery
(Film actor)
James Avery
9
Birthdate: November 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Suffolk, Virginia, U.S.
Died: December 31, 2013
 10 
Gil Scott-Heron
(Poet and Singer-songwriter)
Gil Scott-Heron
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 27, 2011
 11 
Ossie Davis
(Former actor who appeared in films with wife Ruby Dee)
Ossie Davis
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cogdell, Georgia, United States
Died: February 4, 2005
 12 
Talib Kweli
(Poet, Musician, Songwriter, Rapper, Singer)
Talib Kweli
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
 13 
Joan Sebastian
(Singer-songwriter, Actor, Poet, Record producer)
Joan Sebastian
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guerrero
Died: July 13, 2015

Known as the king of Mexican rodeo, for performing in concerts on horseback, Mexican singer Joan Sebastian won the highest number of Grammy awards from his country. Over 20 of his songs made it to the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. An actor, too, he was seen in the telenovela Tú y yo.

 14 
Jewel
(Singer-Songwriter)
Jewel
14
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Payson, Utah, United States
 15 
Michael Madsen
10
Birthdate: September 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 16 
Chirlane McCray
(Writer, Social Activist)
Chirlane McCray
5
Birthdate: November 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
 17 
Sherman Alexie
(Novelist)
Sherman Alexie
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Spokane
 18 
Carol Ann Duffy
6
Birthdate: December 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
 19 
Abbas Kiarostami
(Film director, Screenwriter, Photographer, Film producer, Poet, Film editor)
Abbas Kiarostami
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tehran
Died: July 4, 2016

Abbas Kiarostami was an Iranian screenwriter, film director, film producer, photographer, and poet. Over the course of his illustrious career, Kiarostami was honored with numerous awards such as the Jury Special Award at the Tehran International Film Festival and Best Film Award at the Iranian Film Festival for Children and Young Adults. 

 20 
Mary Oliver
(Poet, Writer)
Mary Oliver
4
Birthdate: September 10, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Maple Heights
 21 
Win Butler
(Songwriter, Singer, Composer, Poet, Guitarist)
Win Butler
7
Birthdate: April 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Truckee, California, United States

Win Butler is an American-Canadian multi-instrumentalist, musician, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding the popular Canadian indie rock band, Arcade Fire. Also a humanitarian, Butler contributed to a charity record named Do They Know It's Hallowe'en as part of a UNICEF benefit project. A multi-talented personality, Win Butler often participates in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Wendell Berry
4
Birthdate: August 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Henry County
 23 
Michael Rosen
(Children's author and poet who has written 140 books)
Michael Rosen
7
Birthdate: May 7, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Harrow, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
 24 
Bernie Casey
4
Birthdate: June 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wyco, West Virginia, USA
Died: September 19, 2017
 25 
Sue Grafton
(American author)
Sue Grafton
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
 26 
Angela Marie DiFranco
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
 27 
John Updike
(Poet, Novelist)
John Updike
9
Birthdate: March 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 27, 2009
 28 
Benjamin Zephaniah
(Actor, Poet, Writer, Singer)
Benjamin Zephaniah
6
Birthdate: April 15, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birmingham
 29 
Carmine Giovinazzo
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Richmond [now Staten Island], New York City, New York, USA
 30 
Derek William Dick
(Singer-songwriter, Actor, Singer, Composer, Poet)
Derek William Dick
4
Birthdate: April 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Better known by his pseudonym, Fish, Scottish rock singer Derek William Dick first gained fame as part of the British band Marillion. Known for hits such as Kayleigh, he later also had a successful solo career. He once revealed how he almost died twice, from skin-infection-induced blood poisoning.

 31 
Seamus Heaney
(Poet, Playwright & Translator Who Received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Seamus Heaney
11
Birthdate: April 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castledawson, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Died: August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney was an Irish poet, translator, and playwright. One of the most respected poets of his generation, Heaney was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He also won other prestigious awards, such as the Eric Gregory Award. Several years after his death, Seamus Heaney is still considered one of the main contributors to poetry in Ireland.

 32 
Margaret Atwood
(Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic & Environmental Activist)
Margaret Atwood
21
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 33 
Derek Walcott
(Saint Lucian Poet, Playwright, and Winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Derek Walcott
4
Birthdate: January 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
Died: March 17, 2017

Derek Walcott was a Saint Lucian playwright and poet who was honored with the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was also the recipient of several literary awards like Obie Award, Royal Society of Literature Award, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and Queen's Medal for Poetry. In 2016, he was made Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Lucia.

 34 
Jim Harrison
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grayling, Michigan, USA
Died: March 26, 2016
 35 
Dean Koontz
(Novelist)
Dean Koontz
9
Birthdate: July 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Everett, Pennsylvania, United States
 36 
Rita Mae Brown
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hanover, Pennsylvania, United States
 37 
Captain Beefheart
10
Birthdate: January 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glendale, California, U.S.
Died: December 17, 2010
 38 
Michaela Coel
(British Actress and Screenwriter Known for Her TV Series: 'Chewing Gum' and 'I May Destroy You')
Michaela Coel
11
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
 39 
Madeleine L'Engle
(Best Known for Her Children’s Book, 'A Wrinkle in Time')
Madeleine L'Engle
4
Birthdate: November 29, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York,United States
Died: September 6, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle soared to fame with her Newbery Medal-winning bestselling young adult novel A Wrinkle in Time, which was made into a Disney film later. Born to a writer father and a pianist mother, L’Engle had penned her first story at age 5 and had also tried her luck in theater.

 40 
Peter Handke
(One of the Most Influential and Original German-Language Writers Known for His Work 'Offending the Audience')
Peter Handke
4
Birthdate: December 6, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Griffen, Austria

Peter Handke is an Austrian novelist, poet, translator, playwright, screenwriter, and film director. One of the most respected personalities in Austria, Handke has won several prestigious awards over the course of his career. In 1973, he was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize. In 1987, he won the Vilenica International Literary Prize. In 2019, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 41 
Banks
(Singer)
Banks
7
Birthdate: June 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Orange County, California, US
 42 
Stephen Gyllenhaal
4
Birthdate: October 4, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
 43 
Betty Aberlin
(Actress)
Betty Aberlin
4
Birthdate: December 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
 44 
Joyce Carol Oates
9
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States
 45 
Javed Akhtar
(Screenwriter, poet, and lyricist known for his contributions to Indian music and Bollywood films)
Javed Akhtar
5
Birthdate: January 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India

Born into a family of Urdu poets from Gwalior, renowned Indian lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar had initially been a screenwriter, along with Salim Khan, for films such as Sholay and Deewaar. The Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan winner has also been a Rajya Sabha MP.

 46 
Gulzar
(Lyricist)
Gulzar
4
Birthdate: August 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dina, Punjab

Famed Indian lyricist, poet, author, screenwriter, and film director Gulzar has been a major figure in Bollywood for over six decades. He started doing odd jobs as a teenager and eventually entered films, where he made a name for himself as a lyricist and screenwriter. He soon started directing films as well. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.

 47 
Johnny Marr
(Guitarist, Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer)
Johnny Marr
10
Birthdate: October 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, England
 48 
Julia Cameron
(Screenwriter, Film director, Novelist, Poet)
Julia Cameron
4
Birthdate: March 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Libertyville
 49 
Shelley Berman
(Comedian)
Shelley Berman
4
Birthdate: February 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: September 1, 2017
 50 
Jim Carroll
(Known for His 1978 Autobiographical Work ‘The Basketball Diaries')
Jim Carroll
4
Birthdate: August 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: September 11, 2009

Punk musician and author Jim Carroll is best remembered for his autobiographical depiction of his struggle with drugs in his teenage years, The Basketball Diaries, which was later turned into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Part of The Jim Carroll Band, he was known for the single People Who Died.