Poets

What do William Wordsworth, Charles Wright and W. B. Yeats have in common? The answer is that they were all world famous poets whose poems are still studied as a part of literature. Poets have often been described as people who step outside the bounds of the obvious and produce aesthetic and, in some cases, even rhythmic works that are meant to take the reader on a fanciful journey through the poet’s words. Poems have been a part of literature forever and it is believed that the earliest poems evolved from folk songs. A poem usually has certain characters that define it, some of which are things like the rhyme scheme, symbolism, rhetoric, rhythm and even irony. This form of literature has also been used to tell stories, the best example of which the two poems Iliad and The Odyssey, written by Homer, are the best examples. Having familiarized ourselves with poems, it’s only natural that we move onto better acquainting ourselves with the people who wrote them. To that end, what follows now is a collection of the biographies of some of the most famous poets. They include their timelines, information about their professional and personal lives along with interesting facts and trivia about them.

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 Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 19, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: October 7, 1849

American writer Edgar Allan Poe is regarded as the architect of modern short story, the inventor of the detective-fiction genre and a major contributor towards science fiction genre. The influential writer is recognised for his tales of mystery and macabre. His notable works include The Raven (poem), The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher (short stories).

 2 Lord Byron

Lord Byron
2
Famous As: Poet, Politician
Birthdate: January 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
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.

 3 Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath
4
Famous As: Poet, Novelist, and Writer
Birthdate: October 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath was an American short-story writer, novelist, and poet. Plath is credited with popularizing confessional poetry and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Sylvia Plath achieved popularity and critical acclaim despite suffering from clinical depression for the most part of her adult life. Her story inspired the 2003 film Sylvia in which she was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

 4 Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 10, 1830
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 15, 1886
Victorian-era poet Emily Dickinson apparently wrote around 1800 poems, mostly revolving around themes such as death and immortality. However, she was a recluse, dressed up in white, and mostly interacted with people through correspondence. Her poems were mostly without titles and had short lines, slant rhyme, and unconventional punctuation.

 5 William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 7, 1770
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
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 Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
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Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Playwright, & Columnist
Birthdate: February 1, 1902
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 22, 1967

Langston Hughes is best remembered as a prominent leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the first to write jazz poetry. He also wrote plays and short stories. He was a columnist for The Chicago Defender and wrote the iconic poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers.

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 7 J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, South African
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.

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 8 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

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 9 Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 6, 1799
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Russian
Died: February 10, 1837
Legendary Russian playwright, poet, and novelist Alexander Pushkin is considered one of the most prominent figures of the Romantic era and of Russian literature. He is remembered for his poem Ode to Liberty, one of his works that led him to be exiled by Tsar Alexander I. 

 10 Sappho

Sappho
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 0630 BC
Nationality: Greek
Died: 0580 BC
Sappho was a lyric poet from Lesbos, in the 6th-7th century B.C. Known as the “Tenth Muse,” she wrote the Ode to Aphrodite and the Tithonus poem. Though her sexuality is still debated, she gave rise to the terms “sapphic” and “lesbian,” used to denote love and desire between women. 

 11 Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas
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Famous As: Poet & Writer
Birthdate: October 27, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Welsh
Died: November 9, 1953

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh writer and poet who published popular poems, such as Do not go gentle into that good night, which was popularized in the 2014 movie, Interstellar, where Michael Caine's character recites the poem throughout the film. Dylan Thomas achieved tremendous popularity during his lifetime and remains popular after his untimely death at the age of 39.

 12 Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 30, 1265
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: September 14, 1321

Dante Alighieri was an Italian writer, poet, and philosopher. His work Divine Comedy is widely regarded as the greatest literary work ever produced in the Italian language and the most prominent poem of the Middle Ages. Often referred to as the father of the Italian language, Dante Alighieri played a crucial role in establishing the Italian literature.

 13 Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 6, 1809
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: October 6, 1892

 14 Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 16, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German, American
Died: March 9, 1994

German-American poet and short story writer ,Charles Bukowski, addressed the ordinary lives of poor Americans in most of his works. Since his death, he has been the subject of many critical books and articles. His stories have inspired several films like Tales of Ordinary Madness, Crazy Love, and Factotum.

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 15 Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo
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Famous As: Author & Poet
Birthdate: February 26, 1802
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: May 22, 1885

Victor Hugo was a French poet, dramatist, and novelist of the Romantic movement. Regarded as one of the best-known and greatest French writers of all time, Victor Hugo wrote abundantly during his career that spanned over six decades. Thanks to his works, such as Hernani and Cromwell, Victor Hugo was one of the leading figures of the Romantic literary movement.

 16 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
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Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 17 Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes
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Famous As: Poet and Children's Writer
Birthdate: August 17, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
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.   

 18 Robert Frost

Robert Frost
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 26, 1874
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: January 29, 1963

Robert Frost was an American poet. An influential poet, Frost was honored with four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry, the only poet to receive four such awards. One of America's public literary figures, Robert Frost received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. His works influenced other poets like Robert Francis, James Wright, Edward Thomas, Richard Wilbur, and Seamus Heaney.

 19 Virgil

Virgil
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 15, 0070
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: September 21, 0019
1st-century B.C. Roman poet Virgil is best remembered for his epic The Aeneid, which was based on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. He has also written the Latin poems the Eclogues/Bucolics and the Georgics. His Aeneid, considered ancient Rome’s national epic, inspired other influential works, such as Dante’s Divine Comedy.

 20 Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
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Famous As: Poet & humanist
Birthdate: May 31, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: March 26, 1892

Walt Whitman was an American poet, journalist, and essayist. Also a humanist, Whitman played a crucial role in the shift between transcendentalism and realism. Often referred to as the father of free verse, Whitman is one of the most influential American poets of all time. Several decades after his death, Walt Whitman's poetry remains influential.

 21 John Donne

John Donne
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Famous As: Poet, lawyer, satirist
Birthdate: January 22, 1572
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
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. 

 22 Keren Peles

Keren Peles
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Israeli

 23 P B Shelley

P B Shelley
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
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. 

 24 Rumi

Rumi
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Famous As: Great Poet
Birthdate: September 30, 1207
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Afghan, Turkish
Died: December 17, 1273

Rumi was a Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose spiritual legacy has been attracting praises for the past 800 years! Often described as the best-selling and most popular poet in the US, Rumi's poems are widely read today in many countries. His poetry has influenced the literary traditions of many languages, such as Pashto, Urdu, Chagatai, and Ottoman Turkish.

 25 James Avery

James Avery
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Famous As: Film actor
Birthdate: November 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 31, 2013

 26 Sophocles

Sophocles
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Famous As: Ancient Greek Poet
Birthdate: 0496 BC
Nationality: Greek

Sophocles was an ancient Greek writer. He is one among three tragedians from his era whose plays have survived. Sophocles was the most decorated and celebrated playwright for almost five decades, during which he won 24 out of 30 dramatic competitions, which took place in the city-state of Athens during the religious festivals of the Dionysia and the Lenaea.

 27 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 28, 1749
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: March 22, 1832

Regarded as the greatest literary figure in Germany's modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a statesman and writer. Apart from writing poetry and prose, he also wrote treatises on color, anatomy, and botany. Thanks to his literary genius, Goethe was made part of the Duke's privy council in Weimar and he implemented several reforms at the University of Jena.

 28 William Blake

William Blake
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
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.

 29 Ovid

Ovid
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 20, 0043
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian, Romanian
Died: 0017 AD

Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, lived during the rule of Augustus. He is held at par with Latin legends Virgil and Horace. Remembered for his mythological masterpiece the Metamorphoses, a 15-book Latin poem, he spent his final years exiled in a city on the Black Sea.

 30 John Milton

John Milton
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Famous As: Poet, Polemicist, and Civil Servant for the Commonwealth of England.
Birthdate: December 9, 1608
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
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.

 31 T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 26, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.  

 32 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: November 2, 1975

 33 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emersion
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Famous As: American Lecturer, Philosopher, Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: April 27, 1882

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher who led the transcendentalist movement that developed in the eastern United States in the 1820s and 1830s. He is credited with popularizing individualism through his numerous lectures and essays. Emerson influenced many thinkers and writers that followed him; he mentored Henry David Thoreau, who went on to become a leading transcendentalist.

 34 Wilfred Owen

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

 35 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
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.

 36 Petrarch

Petrarch
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Famous As: Poet & Philosopher
Birthdate: July 20, 1304
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Italian
Died: July 19, 1374
Legendary Renaissance poet and the father of humanism Petrarch is remembered for his poems addressed to a certain Laura. While his lawyer father pushed him into studying law, Petrarch’s love for literature made him quit the domain after 7 years, following which he focused on writing. 

 37 Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: March 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: October 21, 1969
Jack Kerouac is remembered as a prominent figure of the Beat Generation. His works, consisting of several novels and poems, with their focus on spirituality, drugs, travel, sex, and jazz, paved the way for the hippie movement. He is best known for his pathbreaking novel On the Road

 38 Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu
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Famous As: Poet and Freedom Fighter
Birthdate: February 13, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: March 2, 1949

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and political activist. An important figure in the Indian Independence Movement, she was a proponent of anti-imperialistic ideas, women's rights, and civil rights. Her illustrious career as a poet earned her the nickname Nightingale of India. After India became independent, she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

 39 Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 18, 1048
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Iranian
Died: December 4, 1131

 40 Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope
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Birthdate: May 21, 1688
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: May 30, 1744

 41 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Scottish
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

 42 Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 25, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: May 10, 1999

Shel Silverstein was an American writer, playwright, songwriter, and cartoonist. Renowned for his children's books, songs, and cartoons, Silverstein's works have been translated into over 30 languages. The recipient of many prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards, Shel Silverstein was posthumously inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

 43 William Faulkner

William Faulkner
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Famous As: Writer, Nobel Laureate
Birthdate: September 25, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: July 6, 1962
Nobel Prize-winning Southern author William Faulkner is remembered for works The Sound and the Fury, A Rose for Emily, and As I Lay Dying. He immortalized Mississippi as the fictional "Yoknapatawpha County" in his works. He also won two Pulitzers, one each for A Fable and The Reivers.

 44 Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke
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Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: December 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Austrian
Died: December 29, 1926

Bohemian-Austrian poet and author Rainer Maria Rilke is best remembered for his numerous poetry collections and his only novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. His works contain metaphors, contradictions, and elements drawn from Greek mythology. Though most of his works were in German, he had also written in French.

 45 Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 9, 1821
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: August 31, 1867
French prose poet, essayist, and critic Charles Baudelaire was one of the first translators of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Best known for his book of poems Les Fleurs du mal, he is believed to have coined the word modernity and was associated with the symbolist and decadent movements.

 46 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
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Famous As: Independence Activist, Reformer
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Indian
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

 47 John Keats

John Keats
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Famous As: Romantic poet
Birthdate: October 31, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
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.

 48 Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 30, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: November 1, 1972
American poet Ezra Pound was a significant figure in the modernist poetry movement who developed imagism and gained fame with works such as Ripostes and The Cantos. He later promoted social credit theory. During World War II, he supported fascism, participating in radio broadcasts against the U.S. and Jews. 

 49 A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne
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Famous As: Novelist, Playwright, Poet
Birthdate: January 18, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
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.

 50 Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammad Iqbal
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Famous As: Poet & Philosopher
Birthdate: November 9, 1877
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Pakistani
Died: April 21, 1938

Muhammad Iqbal was a Scholar, poet, and politician. Born in British India (present-day Pakistan), Iqbal's poetry in Persian and Urdu languages is regarded as one of the greatest of the modern era. Also an influential politician, Muhammad Iqbal's vision of an independent Muslim state helped inspire the creation of Pakistan where he is recognized as the national poet.

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