Famous Welsh Poets

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 Welsh Poets

 1 
Dylan Thomas
(Poet & Writer)

Dylan Thomas
4
Birthdate: October 27, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Swansea
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.

 2 
George Herbert
(Poet recognized as one of the foremost British devotional lyricists)

George Herbert
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1593
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montgomery, Wales
Died: March 1, 1633

George Herbert was an orator, poet, and priest of the Church of England. Although he is regarded as one of the most important British devotional lyricists, Herbert's poetry is often associated with the works of popular metaphysical poets. He was also a collector of proverbs and his collection was published in 1640.

 3 
W. H. Davies
(British poet)

W. H. Davies
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1871
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newport, Wales
Died: September 26, 1940

After losing his father at age 3, Georgian poet W. H. Davies was raised by his grandparents. He later spent moving from place to place in the US and Canada, taking up odd jobs, and even lost his right foot while trying to jump a freight train.

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 4 
Julian Cope
(Singer-songwriter)

Julian Cope
4
Birthdate: October 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Deri, Caerphilly Deri, Monmouthshire (historic) Monmouthshire, Wales

Apart from being a popular post-punk musician who soared to fame with the band The Teardrop Explodes, Julian Cope has also been a self-styled occultist and a cosmic shaman. Apart from penning volumes on musicology and archaeology, he has also written a fiction novel and a 2-volume memoir.

 5 

R. S. Thomas
3
Birthdate: March 29, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Died: September 25, 2000

One of the most prominent modern Welsh poets, R. S. Thomas is remembered for his cold style of depicting the reality of his country. Born to a sailor, he grew up in port towns and grew up to become an Anglican priest. Many of his poems contain the character Iago Prytherch.

 6 
Henry Vaughan
(Physician, Economist, Poet, Writer)

Henry Vaughan
3
Birthdate: April 17, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brecknockshire
Died: April 23, 1695

Anglo-Welsh metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan was a major literary figure of the Commonwealth period and is best remembered for Silex Scintillans. While he initially studied law, the Civil War disrupted his studies and he was called back home to serve Sir Marmaduke Lloyd. He was also a practicing physician.

 7 

Victor Spinetti
5
Birthdate: September 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cwm, Ebbw Vale, Wales
Died: June 18, 2012

Actor, author, and raconteur Victor Spinetti initially gained fame with his appearances in films of The Beatles. He later appeared in many comic roles in films such as The Taming of The Shrew. He was also a Tony Award-winning Broadway performer. He eventually succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

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 8 
Aneirin
(Poet)

Aneirin
2
Birthdate: 0525 AD
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Wales

Aneirin was a Brythonic war poet best remembered for his medieval Welsh poem, Y Gododdin. Believed to have been a court poet or bard in a Cumbric kingdom in present-day Scotland, Aneirin is often referred to as the prince of bards. His works are preserved in a manuscript called the Book of Aneirin.

 9 

Dafydd ap Gwilym
2
Birthdate: 1320 AD
Birthplace: Ceredigion, Wales
Died: 1350 AD

One of the most influential poets in the history of Welsh literature, Dafydd ap Gwilym is remembered for his odes and rhymed couplets. His poems, such as Morfudd like the sun, mostly explore themes of nature and romantic love, and showcase a prominent influence of troubadours.

 10 

Arthur Symons
3
Birthdate: February 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milford Haven, Wales
Died: January 22, 1945

Considered a pioneer of French Symbolism in English poetry, Arthur Symons was mostly homeschooled in childhood and later moved to London, joining the Rhymers’ Club and other literary societies. He is chiefly remembered for his works such as Days and Nights and Silhouettes. He recovered from a serious bout of mental illness later.

 11 

Dannie Abse
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Died: September 28, 2014

Apart from establishing himself as one of the most prominent Welsh poets of his time, Dannie Abse also worked full-time as a physician. The Cholmondeley Award-winning poet, known for volumes such as Pythagoras, White Coat, Purple Coat, and Running Late, was also a memoirist and an editor.

 12 

Alun Lewis
2
Birthdate: July 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cwmaman, Wales
Died: March 5, 1944

Born to school teacher parents, Welsh poet Alun Lewis had shown his interest in poetry since childhood. After failing in his journalism career, he began teaching. During World War II, he joined the army and later began penning his war experiences as poems and short stories. He later accidentally shot himself to death.

 13 

Vernon Watkins
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maesteg, Wales
Died: October 8, 1967

Welsh poet Vernon Watkins was a close associate of poet Dylan Thomas and is remembered for his published volume of letters that Thomas had written to him. A Cambridge alumnus, he later worked as clerk in a bank and simultaneously wrote poems. His themes mostly revolve around Welsh legends.

Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd
2
Birthdate: 1120 AD
Birthplace: Gwynedd, Wales
Died: 1170 AD

Welsh warrior prince Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd was also a talented poet who introduced the Welsh to courtly love songs. The son of Owain the Great, the king of North Wales, Hywel was instrumental in the occupation of Ceredigion. His poems were later released in The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales.

 15 

Ann Griffiths
1
Birthdate: 1120 AD, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, Wales
Died: July 31, 1805

Welsh poet Ann Griffiths is remembered for her scriptural and spiritual themes in her works. It’s believed she would often recite her poems to her maid. Following her death after childbirth at age 29, her maid and the maid’s husband, who was a Calvinistic Methodist minister, published her poems.

John Ceiriog Hughes
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1832
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, Wales
Died: April 23, 1887

Welsh poet John Ceiriog Hughes initially worked odd jobs, as a grocer’s assistant, a clerk, and a railway station master. After winning several poetry prizes, he published his first volume, Evening Hours. Often compared to Robert Burns due to his impact on poetry, he explored Welsh folk tunes extensively.

 17 

Owain Cyfeiliog
1
Birthdate: 1130 AD
Birthplace: Welsh
Died: 1197 AD

Owain Cyfeiliog, a warrior prince from the Welsh kingdom of Powys, was also a talented poet. Only one poem penned by him, Hirlas Owain, remains preserved to this day, but it is considered one of the finest in Welsh literature. He spent most of his life supporting the king of England.

 18 

John Morris-Jones
1
Birthdate: October 17, 1864
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Anglesey, Wales
Died: April 16, 1929

Welsh academic John Morris-Jones was closely associated with the faculty of what is now known as Bangor University. Initially a student of math, he switched his focus to Welsh language and literature later. His efforts at infusing classical standards into Welsh poetry got him knighted later.

 19 

Siôn Cent
1
Birthdate: 1400 AD
Birthplace: Brycheiniog, Wales
Died: 1430 AD

Though not much is known about Welsh poet Siôn Cent, it’s believed he disliked the flattery of nobles that was prominent in the verses of the bards of his time. He infused a freshness in the treatment of spiritual themes in Welsh poetry. A poem in praise of Brecknockshire remains his best-known work.

 20 

Goronwy Owen
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1723
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Anglesey, Wales
Died: June 30, 1769

Eighteenth-century Welsh poet Goronwy Owen is remembered for his mastery of the bardic tradition, including the meters cywydd and the awdl, thus contributing to the Welsh literary renaissance. A clergyman by profession, he also taught at various schools throughout his life. He also owned a tobacco and cotton farm.

 21 

T. Gwynn Jones
1
Birthdate: October 10, 1871
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Abergele, Wales
Died: March 7, 1949
Welsh poet and critic T. Gwynn Jones is best remembered for his numerous translations. Initially a journalist, he later worked at the National Library of Wales and then became a professor. His poems, such as The Departure of Arthur, reflected Celtic themes, while Cynddilig highlighted his anti-war sentiment.

Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr
0
Birthdate: 1155 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 1200 AD

Twelfth-century Welsh poet Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr was chiefly known as a court poet for Madog ap Maredudd of Powys. He later also worked for Owain Gwynedd and Owain Cyfeiliog. Apart from the usual archaic form of traditional bards, he also infused spirituality and religion in his works.

 23 
Morgan Llwyd
(Preacher)

Morgan Llwyd
1
Birthdate: 1619 AD
Birthplace: Merioneth, Wales
Died: June 3, 1659

Remembered for his 2-part The Book of the Three Birds, which later became a Welsh classic, author Morgan Llwyd was born into a gentry family. He had also been a chaplain in the New Model Army of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. He is also known as Wrexham’s first Nonconformist minister.

 24 
John Dyer
(Painter)

John Dyer
2
Birthdate: 1699 AD
Birthplace: Llanfynydd, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Died: December 15, 1757

Welsh poet and painter John Dyer is best remembered for his iconic poem Grongar Hill, which is held by many as a precursor of the Romantic movement in English literarure. He was a master of the Miltonic blank-verse. He had also been a priest in Catthorpe for 9 years.

 25 

Lewys Glyn Cothi
0
Birthdate: 1420 AD
Birthplace: Llanybydder, Wales
Died: 1490 AD

Welsh bard Lewys Glyn Cothi mostly infused a sense of national pride and patriotism among the Welsh people, with his works. He was apparently thrown out of his native town of Carmarthenshire for marrying a widow without the permission of the burgesses. He is remembered for his use of the cywydd metric.

William John Gruffydd
0
Birthdate: February 14, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Caernarvonshire, Wales
Died: September 29, 1954

Remembered as the last MP from the University of Wales seat, William John Gruffydd had also been a professor of Celtic all his life. He was also a renowned poet, known for his volumes such as Telynegion. His initial works showcased a revolt against Victorian standards in literature.

 27 

Gwalchmai ap Meilyr
0
Birthdate: 1130 AD
Birthplace: Wales
Died: 1180 AD

Welsh poet Gwalchmai ap Meilyr was the son of a poet and later served as a court poet, praising Owain Gwynedd in most of his works. Gorhoffedd Gwalchmai remains one of his best-known poems and one of the greatest Welsh poems from the medieval era.

 28 
Huw Morus
(Poet)

Huw Morus
0
Birthdate: 1622 AD
Birthplace: Llangollen, Wales
Died: July 31, 1709

Known as the nightingale of Ceiriog, Huw Morus was one of the greatest 17th-century Welsh poets. Distinguished by his signature internal rhyme and complicated structure, his works also showcased a strong influence of Cavalier poets. He spent most of life in the Llansilin parish, where he was eventually buried.

 29 

William Thomas
0
Birthdate: April 3, 1832
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: November 20, 1878

Better known by his pseudonym, Islwyn, Welsh poet William Thomas was also a clergyman. Two of his most-loved poems are both titled The Storm, penned as tributes to his fiancée who had died abruptly. He was the only known author who used the long Welsh poem format in the 19th century.

 30 

John Blackwell
0
Birthdate: 1797 AD
Birthplace: Mold, Wales
Died: May 19, 1840

Better known by his pseudonym, Alun, Welsh bard John Blackwell is regarded as the pioneer of Welsh secular lyric. Initially a shoemaker, he later won many prizes in competitive art festivals. He also served as a rector and edited the Welsh illustrated magazine Y Cylchgrawn.

 31 

Dafydd ab Edmwnd
0
Birthdate: 1450 AD
Birthplace: Hanmer, Wales
Died: 1497 AD

One of the greatest Welsh poets of the late medieval period, Dafydd ab Edmwnd was a freeman of Norman lineage. He went down in Welsh history for classifying and reforming the 24 metres of Welsh bardic poetry. His works were later collated and published as Gwaith Dafydd ab Edmwnd.

 32 

Ebenezer Thomas
0
Birthdate: 1450 AD, 1802
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Llanarmon, Wales
Died: February 17, 1863

Born to a weaver in a remote Welsh village, Ebenezer Thomas, better known by his pseudonym, Eben Fardd, initially worked as a school teacher. He later won several poetry competitions. Following the publication of his first poetry collection, the Calvinistic Methodist Church offered him a grant to manage a school.  

 33 

Dafydd Nanmor
0
Birthdate: 1450 AD
Birthplace: Nantmor, Wales
Died: 1490 AD

One of the most prominent 15th-century Welsh poets, Dafydd Nanmor was said to have been banished from his native land for singing a love poem to a married woman. He was known for his signature cywydd form of bardic tradition. His works were later collated as The Poetical Works of Dafydd Nanmor.

 34 

Evan Evans
0
Birthdate: May 20, 1731
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cynhawdref, Wales
Died: August 4, 1788

Welsh poet Evan Evans was one of the prominent figures of the classical revival in Welsh poetry. After dropping out of Oxford, he became a priest and served in at least 18 parishes. His height also earned him the nickname The Tall Poet. He is also known as Ieuan the Poet.