21st Century Poets

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
22
Famous As: Poet
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 Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum

Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
5
Famous As: Crown Prince of Dubai
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.

 3 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

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 4 Donovan

Donovan
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer
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.

 5 Till Lindemann

Till Lindemann
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany

German singer-songwriter and poet Till Lindemann is best-recognised as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the German heavy-metal band Rammstein and for the musical project Lindemann that he fronted. Roadrunner Records listed him among "50 Greatest Metal Frontmen of All Time". He has also published two books of poetry, In stillen Nächten and Messer, and featured in minor roles in movies.

 6 Alice Walker

Alice Walker
5
Famous As: Author
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.

 7 James Avery

James Avery
9
Famous As: Film actor
Birthdate: November 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Suffolk, Virginia, U.S.
Died: December 31, 2013
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 8 Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron
4
Famous As: Poet and Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 27, 2011

 9 Ossie Davis

Ossie Davis
4
Famous As: Former actor who appeared in films with wife Ruby Dee
Birthdate: December 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cogdell, Georgia, United States
Died: February 4, 2005

 10 Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died: June 11, 2014

 11 Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli
4
Famous As: Poet, Musician, Songwriter, Rapper, Singer
Birthdate: October 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 12 Chirlane McCray

Chirlane McCray
5
Famous As: Writer, Social Activist
Birthdate: November 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

 13 Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 7, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Spokane

 14 Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 15 Jewel

Jewel
14
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Payson, Utah, United States

 16 Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 17 Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton
4
Famous As: American author
Birthdate: April 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

 18 Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver
4
Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: September 10, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Maple Heights

 19 Joan Sebastian

Joan Sebastian
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Actor, Poet, Record producer
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.

 20 Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami
4
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Photographer, Film producer, Poet, Film editor
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. 

 21 Win Butler

Win Butler
5
Famous As: Songwriter, Singer, Composer, Poet, Guitarist
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.

 22 Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry
4
Birthdate: August 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Henry County

 23 Noname

Noname
5
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 18, 1991
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 24 Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen
7
Famous As: Children's author and poet who has written 140 books
Birthdate: May 7, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Harrow, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom

 25 Bernie Casey

Bernie Casey
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wyco, West Virginia, USA
Died: September 19, 2017

 26 Angela Marie DiFranco

Angela Marie DiFranco
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States

 27 John Updike

John Updike
9
Famous As: Poet, Novelist
Birthdate: March 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 27, 2009

 28 Banks

Banks
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Orange County, California, US

 29 Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott
4
Famous As: Poet
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.

 30 Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sri Lanka

Michael Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian poet, writer, and filmmaker. Born in Sri Lanka, he eventually migrated to Canada. He studied at Bishop's University and embarked on a teaching career. His literary works include poems, novels, and essays. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Giller Prize and the Booker Prize. 

 31 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
20
Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic & Environmental Activist
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.

 32 Carmine Giovinazzo

Carmine Giovinazzo
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Richmond [now Staten Island], New York City, New York, USA

 33 Walter de La Mare

Walter de La Mare
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 25, 1873
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charlton, London Charlton, Kent, England, UK
Died: June 22, 1956

 34 Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hanover, Pennsylvania, United States

 35 Derek William Dick

Derek William Dick
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Actor, Singer, Composer, Poet
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.

 36 Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grayling, Michigan, USA
Died: March 26, 2016

 37 Ashutosh Rana

Ashutosh Rana
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh, India

While he initially played Ravana in local Ramleela productions of his native state Madhya Pradesh, Indian actor Ashutosh Rana later soared to fame with the series Swabhimaan. The NSD alumnus later won Filmfare awards for his roles in Dushman and Sangharsh. He is married to actor Renuka Shahane.

 38 Saul Williams

Saul Williams
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Poet
Birthdate: February 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newburgh, New York, USA

 39 Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart
10
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glendale, California, U.S.
Died: December 17, 2010

 40 Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz
9
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Everett, Pennsylvania, United States

 41 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
11
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

 42 Louise Glück

Louise Glück
15
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, United States

 43 Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr
9
Famous As: Guitarist, Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer
Birthdate: October 31, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, England

 44 Stephen Gyllenhaal

Stephen Gyllenhaal
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: October 4, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

 45 Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney
11
Famous As: Writer
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.

 46 Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayumi Hamasaki
6
Famous As: Singer, Seiyū, Songwriter, Model, Actor, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Lyricist, Poet, Record producer
Birthdate: October 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fukuoka

Japanese pop icon Ayumi Hamasaki had started a TV career after moving to Tokyo at 14. She later gained fame with her dance hits and ballads. Also known for her dramatic costumes and videos, The Empress of J-pop has been rendered totally deaf in one ear, owing to a ear infection.

 47 Betty Aberlin

Betty Aberlin
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 48 Peter Handke

Peter Handke
4
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 49 Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates
9
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States

 50 Olga Tokarczuk

Olga Tokarczuk
6
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sulechów, Poland

Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer and public intellectual. She is one of the most critically acclaimed authors of her generation in Poland. She was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first female Polish writer to receive the honor. Her works have been translated into almost 40 languages. She is also a clinical psychologist.