Today’s post is a tribute to the Greats of Poetry. I’d like to take a moment to thank the brilliant men and women who came before us, paving the rough road so that we can have an easier go at it…learning from their failures and successes…studying and understanding the whys as to what made them so “great” in the first place…before attempting to carve our own path of originality on the road less traveled in hopes to create something worthy of standing stacked amongst their vertical names in bookstores for generations to come.
I think we modern-day poets naturally admire, or at least respect, the majority of the Great Poets. They became great because, overall, they challenged Language and Perspective. Their poems were universally moving, far-reaching to people all over the world. Some made the seemingly mundane extraordinary…some made the grandiose tangible. I first read poems written by the Greats during my childhood, then more so in high school and in my college studies; my literature professors opened up a fresh new world filled with poetry on which I could chew for days without losing its flavor. I loved how their prose didn’t just make me think, they made me feel and feel so deeply about myself and about the world around me. An average poet will report their findings…a scientist of language, dissecting a moment without any imagination, and you’re left feeling “talked at.” But a Great! Ohhh, a Great Poet takes you by the hand and escorts you through their findings, stopping beside each emotion, each idea, and letting you feel it right alongside them, showing you something from a new angle, in a new light, inviting you to open up your mind just a little bit more and making you feel just a lottle more alive. (Yes, a lottle. Like a little, but a lot.) Now that is what makes a Great Poet great.
I’ve included my own personal list below. I initially wanted to give reasons as to why they’re in my list, but…honestly, this post would grow exponentially in length and Arlee might get mad at me. 😉 However, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on who you consider to be the Greats of Poetry (or Literature, in general…I’m not picky, and I think a lot of them go hand-in-hand).
As always, happy writing!
Some of my favorites, in no particular order:
William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Keats, Sylvia Plath, E.E. Cummings, Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Joyce, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, William Blake, T.S. Eliot, Emily Bronte…and so many more, but I will leave additional suggestions up to you, dear reader.