Famous British Poets

Poets from English speaking nations such as Great Britain and the United States have penned some of the finest pieces of literature. Britain in particular, has produced many such great minds who have expressed many of their thoughts through hymns and poems. These poets have incorporated different aspects of daily life such as nature, romance, and the various problems plaguing the society in their work. Some of the famous poets from Britain are Robert Adamson, Mark Akenside, William Cowper and Richard Arlington. William Cowper alone has penned around 89 poems, such as ‘Abuse of the Gospel’, ‘Exhortation to Prayer’, ‘For the Poor’, and ‘God Moves in a Mysterious Way’. The poems penned by Richard Arlington, such as ‘At The British Museum’, ‘Bombardment’, ‘Childhood’ and ‘Daisy’ created a great impression amongst readers which were inspired by the poet’s daily life. Rudyard Kipling, who is well known for his well-acclaimed story ‘Jungle Book’, has also written a dozen poems such as the ‘Disciples’, ‘The Ballad of East and West’, as well as ‘Gunga Din’. Here’s we bring you the collection of biographies of a few famous poets from Britain. Try to gather everything about their life stories, timelines and few interesting facts & trivia related to them.

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

Vote for Your Favourite British Poets

 1 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
40
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Died: April 23, 1616

English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is also often called England's national poet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages and his plays continue to be produced till day. Popular during his lifetime, he acquired an iconic status after his death.

 2 A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 18, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 31, 1956

A. A. Milne was an English author best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh. He joined the British Army as a young man and served in both World War I and World War II. In his career as a writer, he wrote several novels, non-fiction pieces, articles, poems, screenplays, and children’s stories.

 3 Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 6, 1809
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Somersby, Lincolnshire, England
Died: October 6, 1892

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was a British poet. One of the most famous British poets of all time, Tennyson served as the Poet Laureate during Queen Victoria's reign. His poetry, which is renowned for its powerful visual imagery, served as an important influence on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English poets and painters.

 4 Carol Ann Duffy

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

 5 William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
17
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 7, 1770
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingdom of Great Britain
Died: April 23, 1850

English poet William Wordsworth, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, released Lyrical Ballads in 1798, which set the tone for the Romantic Age of English Literature. Wordsworth was known for his poems I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, The Prelude, and The Solitary Reaper. He also served as the Poet Laureate.

 6 Lord Byron

Lord Byron
17
Famous As: Baron Byron
Birthdate: January 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 1824

Widely considered one of the greatest British poets of all time, Lord Byron remains influential as his works are widely read even today. He was also one of the most important personalities of the Romantic Movement. He is also known for his role in the Greek War of Independence, for which the Greeks consider him a national hero.

 7 William Blake

William Blake
14
Famous As: Poet and Visual Artist of the Romantic Age
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Soho, London, England
Died: August 12, 1827
William Blake, author of The Songs of Innocence and of Experience, was a prominent figure of the early phase of the Romantic Age, known as the pre-Romantic era. Known for his visual artistry and poetry, he was also a staunch abolitionist and a forerunner of the "free love" movement.
You May Like

 8 John Keats

John Keats
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 31, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moorgate, London, England
Died: February 23, 1821
John Keats was one of the leading 19th-century Romantic poets, along with Byron and Shelley, known for his natural imagery and emotions in his poems. Some of his best-known works are Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, and Ode to a Nightingale. He died of tuberculosis at age 25.

 9 P B Shelley

P B Shelley
7
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Horsham, Sussex, England
Died: July 8, 1822
Legendary English Romantic poetry P.B. Shelley is remembered for his masterpieces such as Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and Prometheus Unbound. He was known for his poetic imagery, and his popularity soared after his premature death due to drowning while boating at age 29. 

 10 Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll
7
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 27, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Daresbury, Cheshire, England
Died: January 14, 1898
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, is remembered for his iconic children’s fiction such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. He explored the genre of literary nonsense with his poems such as Jabberwocky. He was also a photographer, a mathematician, and an inventor.
Recommended Lists:

 11 Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer
9
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1340 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1400

Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author and poet. He is best known for his collection of 24 stories titled The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer is widely regarded as the greatest British poet of the Middle Ages and is often referred to as the father of English poetry. He is also credited with helping legitimize the literary use of Middle English.

 12 John Milton

John Milton
7
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 9, 1608
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheapside, London, England
Died: November 8, 1674

John Milton was an English poet whose epic poem Paradise Lost is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of literature. Milton's other celebrated work Areopagitica is counted among history's most impassioned and influential defenses of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. John Milton’s works have influenced other prominent writers, such as Thomas Hardy and George Eliot.

 13 T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot
7
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 26, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: January 4, 1965
American-born British poet T. S. Eliot is best remembered for his poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and Ash Wednesday, and his plays such as Murder in the Cathedral. He won the Nobel Prize for literature and became a prominent figure of Modernist poetry.  

 14 J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien
19
Famous As: Author of 'The Hobbit' & 'The Lord of the Rings'
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Died: September 2, 1973

Considered one of the greatest authors, JRR Tolkien is popularly called the father of the modern fantasy literature. He is best known for his high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which is set in a conceived world called the Middle-Earth. Many years after his death, Tolkien continues to be one of the best-selling writers.

 15 Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy
5
Famous As: Novelist & Poet
Birthdate: June 2, 1840
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stinsford, Dorset, England
Died: January 11, 1928
Victorian novelist and poet Thomas Hardy exhibited strong influences of Romanticism in his works. He wrote classic novels such as Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. He mostly showed his characters struggling against social conditions and ending up in tragic situations.

 16 Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte
9
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 21, 1816
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thornton, Yorkshire, England
Died: March 31, 1855
Charlotte Bronte, remembered for her iconic novel Jane Eyre, was one of the most significant literary figures of the 19th century. She was the eldest of the Bronte sisters who survived into adulthood. She and her sisters Emily and Anne wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.

 17 Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë
8
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 30, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: December 19, 1848
Victorian novelist/poet Emily Brontë, also known as Ellis Bell, is best remembered for her iconic novel Wuthering Heights. Her book of poems, written with her sisters Charlotte and Anne, was titled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, highlighting their pseudonyms. She suffered from prolonged illness and died of tuberculosis.

 18 Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes
9
Famous As: Poet and Children's Writer
Birthdate: August 17, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mytholmroyd
Died: October 28, 1998
Poet and children’s author Ted Hughes is best remembered for his iconic poems The Hawk in the Rain, Birthday Letters, and Crow. He was married to poet Sylvia Plath, who eventually committed suicide at 30. Most people blamed him for mistreating Plath and indirectly causing her death.   

 19 W. H. Auden

W. H. Auden
9
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 21, 1907
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: York, England
Died: September 28, 1973

W. H. Auden was an Anglo-American poet. His poetry was noted for its technical achievement and versatility. He wrote poems on love, political and social themes, and cultural and psychological themes. Throughout his career, Auden was both influential and controversial. His personal life also attracted attention as he had sexual relationships with men, which was unusual at the time.

 20 Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 18, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oswestry
Died: November 4, 1918

Wilfred Owen was an English soldier and poet. One of the most important poets during World War I, Owen wrote about the horrors of gas warfare. His life and career inspired a docudrama titled Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale where he was portrayed by Samuel Barnett. In 1989, the Wilfred Owen Association was established to commemorate his life and poetry.

 21 Samuel Coleridge

Samuel Coleridge
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 21, 1772
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ottery St Mary, Devon, Great Britain, United Kingdom
Died: July 25, 1834

Samuel Coleridge was an English poet, philosopher, theologian, and literary critic. He is credited with co-founding the Romantic Movement in England along with his friend William Wordsworth. Despite struggling from bouts of depression and anxiety throughout his adult life, Samuel Coleridge had a major influence on American transcendentalism and writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 22 John Donne

John Donne
6
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 22, 1572
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 31, 1631
English metaphysical poet John Donne is best known for his touch of sensuality and spirituality in his poems. One of his best-known poems is The Canonization. He had also worked on Latin translations, elegies, sermons, and epigrams. He was known for his reckless lifestyle, that affected his financial status. 

 23 Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope
8
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 21, 1688
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 30, 1744

Alexander Pope was a satirist and poet whose works produced during the Augustan period made him one of the greatest artistic exponents of that period. Widely regarded as one of the most important English poets of the 18th century, Alexander Pope is best remembered for writing discursive poetry and heroic couplets.

 24 Robert Browning

Robert Browning
4
Famous As: Poet & Playwright
Birthdate: May 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camberwell
Died: December 12, 1889

Robert Browning was an English playwright and poet best remembered for his dramatic monologues. His monologues are widely studied around the world as most teachers consider them ideal examples of the monologue form. One of the most important Victorian poets, Browning has inspired several poets and playwrights. 

 25 D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence
7
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eastwood, England
Died: March 2, 1930

English writer, D. H. Lawrence, was known for exploring sensitive issues, such as sexuality, emotional health,  and instinct. In his works, he often reflected upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. The sexual nature of his writings earned him many enemies. Even though he died at the relatively young age of 44, he left behind a rich literary legacy.

 26 Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
6
Famous As: English poet of the Victorian era, best known for her 'Sonnets From the Portuguese' and 'Aurora Leigh.
Birthdate: March 6, 1806
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kelloe, Durham, England
Died: June 29, 1861

 27 George Eliot

George Eliot
6
Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1819
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: December 22, 1880

Mary Ann Evans, known by her pseudonym George Eliot, was an English poet, novelist, translator, and journalist. One of the most prominent writers of the Victorian era, Eliot's works are known for their psychological insight, realism, and detailed description of the countryside. Her novel Middlemarch was voted one of the greatest literary works in a 2007 poll conducted by Time.

 28 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.

 29 Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton
4
Famous As: Children's writer
Birthdate: August 11, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: East Dulwich, London, England
Died: November 28, 1968
Author Enid Blyton is best remembered for her iconic children’s book series such as Famous Five, Malory Towers, and Secret Seven, majorly focusing on mystery-based plots. Her works have made her the fourth-most-translated writer. She had supported animal and paediatric charities. Her story inspired the BBC film Enid.

 30 William Morris

William Morris
6
Famous As: Textile Designer, Poet
Birthdate: March 24, 1834
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walthamstow, England
Died: October 3, 1896

William Morris was a British poet, novelist, textile designer, translator, and socialist activist. He played a major role in reviving the traditional British textile arts and the various methods of production. As a novelist and poet, Morris helped establish the fantasy genre, which is prevalent today. He is counted among the most important cultural figures of the Victorian era.

 31 Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin
6
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 9, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Radford, Coventry, United Kingdom
Died: December 2, 1985

 32 Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon
4
Birthdate: September 8, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Matfield, Kent, England
Died: September 1, 1967

Siegfried Sassoon was an English writer, poet, and soldier. One of the most popular poets during the First World War, Sassoon's works satirized the patriotic pretensions of those accountable for the war as well as described the horrors of the war. Siegfried Sassoon's works and ideology greatly influenced another leading poet of the First World War, Wilfred Owen.

 33 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift
5
Famous As: Satirist & Essayist
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 34 Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 12, 1828
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: April 9, 1882

Known for founding the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a legendary poet and painter of the 19th century. His illustrations also adorned the books of his poet sister Christina Rossetti. Known for volumes such as The House of Life, he also influenced the Aesthetic movement.

 35 Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling
23
Famous As: Journalist, Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: December 30, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: January 18, 1936

English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist Rudyard Kipling is best remembered for his fiction work The Jungle Book. He was born in India and many of his works are inspired by his life in the country. He was one of the most popular English writers in the late 19th and early 20th century.

 36 Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 24, 1822
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Laleham, United Kingdom
Died: April 15, 1888

Iconic Victorian poet and literary critic Matthew Arnold is best remembered for his classic essay Culture and Anarchy, which was a social critique of the Victorian era. He also penned poems such as Dover Beach and Sohrab and Rustum. He had also been a school inspector for over 3 decades.

 37 Robert Graves

Robert Graves
8
Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: July 24, 1895
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wimbledon, England
Died: December 7, 1985

 38 Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti
6
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Hymnwriter
Birthdate: December 5, 1830
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: December 29, 1894

 39 Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson
8
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 18, 1709
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lichfield, England
Died: December 13, 1784

Essayist, biographer, lexicographer, and literary critic Samuel Johnson, or Dr. Johnson, is remembered for his A Dictionary of the English Language and Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets. He was also a poet, a playwright, and a staunch Tory. His mannerisms indicated he had Tourette syndrome.

 40 Kingsley Amis

Kingsley Amis
6
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 16, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clapham, London, England
Died: October 22, 1995

 41 Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 3, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rugby
Died: April 23, 1915

 42 Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson
5
Famous As: Dramatist, Poet & Actor
Birthdate: June 11, 1572
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England
Died: August 6, 1637

 43 Gilbert K. Chesterton

Gilbert K. Chesterton
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 29, 1874
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kensington, England
Died: June 14, 1936

Gilbert K. Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and art critic. A prolific writer, he composed around 80 books, hundreds of poems, around 200 short stories, and 4,000 essays. Often referred to as the "prince of paradox", he had as many detractors as he had admirers. He is considered a successor to Victorian authors like Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin.

 44 John Dryden

John Dryden
6
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 9, 1631
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, England
Died: May 12, 1700

 45 Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins
4
Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: July 28, 1844
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: June 8, 1889

 46 Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 10, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: County Longford, Ireland
Died: April 4, 1774

Oliver Goldsmith was an Anglo-Irish novelist, poet, and playwright. Described by his contemporaries as a disorganized and impetuous person, Goldsmith is best remembered for his works, such as The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village, and She Stoops to Conquer. A respected writer, Goldsmith's statue has been erected in several places, including the Trinity College, Dublin.

 47 A. E. Housman

A. E. Housman
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 26, 1859
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fockbury, England
Died: April 30, 1936

 48 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

 49 Thomas Wyatt

Thomas Wyatt
4
Famous As: Poet & Politician
Birthdate: 1503 AD
Birthplace: Allington, England
Died: October 11, 1542

Apart from being a lyric poet who is credited with having written the first English sonnets, Thomas Wyatt was also a seasoned politician and an ambassador who was patronized by Thomas Cromwell. He was also said to have had an affair with Anne Boleyn and was later arrested for it.

 50 Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 31, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Winestead, England
Died: August 16, 1678