Maya Angelou was a distinguished writer who witnessed a lot of domestic crisis as a child. At the young age of seven, she faced abuse in the form of rape, by her mother's boyfriend. Along with her older brother, she was forced to travel places while growing up, unable to settle down in one place for a long time. Despite having a difficult childhood and adolescence, her spirit did not take a beating. She began earning for herself as a cab driver, and then became a dancer and singer. Soon, she learnt several languages on a tour to Europe, and showed a keen interest in English literature. She befriended established African-American writers, who motivated her to pursue writing as a career. Maya published her first autobiography, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings', at the age of forty-one. The book received favourable reviews and she gradually became an established writer. She also acted in musicals, tried her hand at directing movies, and even writing and producing a documentary. She is also known for her feminist beliefs, which are most evident through her famous poem, 'Phenomenal Woman'. Having campaigned for many charitable causes, and made a mark as a poet, the death of this writer was mourned by many famous people
Poet turned social media star best known under the moniker Click for Taz. She's popular for her spoken word poetry and "Taz Talks" videos on her YouTube channel, which now boasts over 500,000 subscribers as well as 30 million views.
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, who was also associated with the American Romantic Movement. He is better known for his tales of mystery and macabre. He was amongst the earliest American practitioners of short story and was generally considered as the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. Poe is also credited for his contribution in the emerging genre of science fiction. His works greatly influenced American literature and also other specialized fields like, cosmology and cryptography. His best known fiction works were generally Gothic and dealt with themes like the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Poe's works are also considered as the part of dark romanticism genre. He became famous for his popular poems like, ˜The Raven' and Annabel Lee.
James Mercer Langston Hughes is remembered as one of the greatest contributorsto the artistic realm of the Harlem Renaissance. A poet and writer by profession, Hughes was an African-American. Through his exquisite literary compositions, he told stories of the sufferings and the life of the black people. During the 1920s when writers chose to stream their content, making their compositions worthy of only the highly literate, Hughes' writings came as an elementary relief to those who could just about read and didn't possess opulent knowledge. His poetry was straight forward and often meant for the black community. He had a particular penchant for jazz music. In fact, he created a brand new genre of American poetry that was later called jazz poetry. Gaining support for his work, he went on to write short stories, plays and columns. It was his dauntless ability to express the black life with all its honesty that won him plenty of admiration later in his career. The columns he wrote largely uplifted the morale of the blacks who were subjugated to racism. His famous work ˜When Harlem was in Vogue' received plaudits from sundry writers.
Canadian poet and spoken word artist who initially rose to fame on Instagram and Tumblr sharing her short visual poetry. After gaining 2.6 million followers on Instagram for her poignant verses, she released her debut poetry collection Milk and Honey.
Emily Dickinson is hailed as one of the most prolific American poets of all time. Her legendary poems such as ˜Because I could not stop for Death', ˜Success is counted Sweetest', and plenty others, have not only found a placeon the shelves of major libraries, but have also occupied a convenient spot in the syllabi of eminent universities. It is odd that even though she possessed such articulate written skills, she lived her life in solitude and hardly interacted with family and society. Those who have read her poetry would testify to the fact that most of her greatest works reflect a serene, melancholic spirit. She not only wrote 1100 poetries in her youth, but also wrote hundreds of letters that mirrored unblemished compositions of finest literary work in the history of American Literature. Gifted with the art of weaving sentiments into words, it was unfortunate that her work was largely published posthumously as a result of her isolation; her contemporariesdid not have much knowledge of the tremendous literary abilities she possessed.Her poems have beenappreciated for her irregular use of punctuation and uncustomary capitalisation of letters, withbrief lines bearing profuse meaning.
Robert Lee Frost is among the most fecund writers when it comes to poetry and playwriting. He was highly appreciated and admired for his realistic portrayal of rural life and his great expertise on American colloquial speech. Most of his astonishing works circle around the rural life settings in New England during early 20th century. He used his own work to analyze complicated social and philosophical themes. Robert Frost is very famous and an oft-quoted poet. During his lifetime, he was honored with several prizes which include four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.
Robert Burns was a famous Scottish poet and lyricist. Also known as Rabbie Burns, or Scotland's favorite son, Burns is often credited as the national poet of Scotland and is the best known Scottish language poet till date. Burns is also considered as the pioneer of the Romantic Movement. He is also known to inspire the founders of both liberalism and socialism. During 19th and 20th centuries, celebration of his life and works became a national charismatic cult, his influence being clearly visible in Scottish literature. In a voting run by Scottish television channel STV in 2009, Burns was voted as the greatest Scot. Apart from creating original compositions, Burns also collected Scottish folk songs, revised and adapted them. His song, Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay and other song, Scots Wha Hae served for long as the unofficial national anthem of Scotland. His other notable poems include, A Red, Red Rose; A Man's A Man for A' That; To a Louse; To a Mouse; The Battle of Sherramuir; Tam o' Shanter, and Ae Fond Kiss.
Walter Whitman was an American poet, journalist and humanist. The poet is mainly known for his approach to Transcendentalism and realism and mastery in free verses, which would mirror in his works. Among his most famous works, is his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was also his first significant work as a poet. The collection was first published in 1855 and since then, he kept it revising and expanding until his death. The poetry was initially labeled and banned for its obscenity though it later gained popularity and has been translated into a number of foreign languages. Whitman was also a teacher and a government clerk before taking on writing and worked as a nurse during the American Civil War. Though he opposed the slavery system in America and wrote poetries moved by their sufferings, he did not participate in the abolitionary movement at any point in his life. The poet died in 1892, at age seventy two.
Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American female poet. She was born in the middle of the eighteenth century, possibly in areas in or around Senegal. Captured around the age of seven, she was sold to a distinguished Bostonian family as a domestic slave. As was the tradition those days, the family renamed her Phillis after the slave ship that brought her, also giving her their surname Wheatley. However, unlike other slaveholders, they gave her education and encouraged her to write poetry. Very soon, she became a part of the household and the family took active interest in publishing her only book, ˜Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral', setting her free shortly thereafter. Unfit for any hard job, her life after the death of her benefactors was spent in poverty. Working as a charwoman, she continued to write, but could not publish her second collection of poems for want of subscriptions. The poet, who had been invited by George Washington for poetry reading, died alone and uncared for in a boarding house among abject poverty, at the age of thirty-one.
Persian poet and mystic of the thirteenth century who became famous for Mathnawi Matnawiye Ma'nawi and Diwan-e Kabir. His works of prose include Fihi Ma Fihi and Makatib.
Social media poet who is recognized for sharing her work through outlets such as Instagram and Facebook where it is then reposted by other users. She has garnered over 80,000 followers on her alfa.poet Instagram account and over 200,000 fans on her alfawrites Facebook page.
Nostradamus was a French physician and seer whose collection of prophesies, ˜Les Propheties', has been widely credited for predicting major events throughout the world across centuries. Some of the major events that are considered to be predicted in his book include the French Revolution, the rise of Antichrists such as Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, the great fire of London, the development of the atomic bomb, September 11 terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and many more. Since the publication of the book, the number of his admirers has grown steadily, and the book has been as popular to the modern readers as it was to the people of its time. It is a well-known fact that he was a great physician who fought against plague throughout his life and cured innumerable patients; however, today he is best remembered as a great seer .While most of his followers think that his prophesies were the result of divine inspiration, critics maintain that his cryptic language makes most of his predictions vague, and a lack of a specific timeline means most of the prophesies can be associated with more than one similar incidents. They also claim that his followers retrospectively attach a fitting quatrain to a major event after the incident has already happened, which cannot be considered prophesy as such. Others think that instead of accepting them as prophesies, his works should be counted as social commentary that can fit Biblical events to the modern day catastrophes.
Nineteenth-century poet, Irish nationalist, and fairy tale enthusiast. She began her literary career by publishing political poems in The Nation.
Dylan Thomas was a celebrated poet and writer born to Welsh parents in Swansea. Although he wrote entirely in English, his works were mostly rooted in the geographical area of his homeland, Wales. He was never a good student though he was extremely intelligent. From his school teacher father, he derived his intellectual as well as literary flair while his temperament was inheritedfrom his mother, who also inducted in him immense respect for his Celtic heritage. His first book of poems was published when he was still in his teens and by the time he was twenty, he had become an acclaimed poet. Later he started writing prose as well, which also earned him great praise. Unfortunately, he also developed a drinking problem while he was in his early twenties and as a result, he had to endure financial problems all through his life. It also ruined his health and he died at the age of thirty-nine from pneumonia brought on by excess dinking.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short story writer and a novelist, chiefly remembered for his works for children and support for British imperialism. Born in British India in the middle of the nineteenth century, he was sent to England at the age of six for his education. Later he returned to India to begin his career as a journalist, but soon gave it up to return to his home country, where he concentrated full time on writing. After his marriage he lived for some years in Vermont, USA, before returning for good to England. He was a prolific writer whose children's books are revered as classics of children's literature. It is believed that at one point he was offered poet laureateship and on several occasions considered for knighthood, but he refused them. However, he accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature, which made him the first English writer to receive the honor.
Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American writer best known as the author of the critically acclaimed novel' The Color Purple' which tells the story of a black woman who struggles against not just the racist white culture but also the patriarchal black culture. An independent minded woman and a feminist, Walker is famous for her works which address the issues of gender discrimination, racism, and patriarchy which are rampant in the African-American society. She was born as the youngest daughter of sharecroppers and grew up in poverty. In mid-20th century America's black children were expected to work in the fields instead of going to school. However, her mother was a strong-willed woman who insisted that her children receive a good education and sent Alice to school. She was a creative girl and started writing at a young age. After high school she went on a scholarship to Spelman College in Atlanta. During this time she became influenced by one of her professors, Howard Zinn, who was also an activist and grew interested in the U.S. civil rights movement. She became a published writer while still in college and over the years established herself as a major author of the Black Arts movement. She is also a prominent social activist in addition to being an acclaimed writer.
Sylvia Plath has been hailed as one of the most renowned and influential poets of the twentieth century.Born in the United States of America in the early 1930s, she has been credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry. She was also equally famous for her short stories and novel. She started writing early in her life and had her first poem published at the age of eight, her first national publication at the age of eighteen, and was selected a guest editor of ˜Mademoiselle' at twenty. However, she failed to accept rejections in a healthy way and at the age of twenty-three unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide. Nonetheless, she successfully completed her studies and went to England, where he met and married Ted Hughes. They first lived in the US, but later returned to England, where she continued to write. She had her first book of poems published at the age of twenty-eight. This was in fact, one of the only two books that were published in her life time; all others were published after her suicide at the age of thirty.
Renowned Romanian Romantic poet whose best-known works include Luceafarul and Oda in Metru Antic. He also edited a Conservative Party newspaper called Timpul.
Mexican-American poet and novelist best known for The Tale of Sunlight, his 1978 Pulitzer Prize-nominated poetry collection. He is also famous for Living Up the Street, a 1985 American Book Award-winning memoir, as well as several works of fiction for children.
Uuno Kailas was a Finnish poet, one of the most popular ones in the period between the two World Wars. Considered to be the archetypal tragic poet, he lived a short and sad life, never enjoying the popularity he deserved during his lifetime, and died in poverty, struggling with mental sickness and disease. Yet within the span of his tragically short life”he died days short of his 32nd birthday”he wrote such poignant poetry that he became immortal in the annals of the history of literature. Topics such as death, darkness, burden, and illness were recurring motifs in his poetry, a stark reminder of the era he lived in, which was marked by escalating political unrest, wars, mass destruction and loss of faith in humanity. The tragedies of his own sad life were also reflected in his poems. His childhood difficulties began when his mother died in childbirth when he was hardly two. His bohemian father was largely absent from his life and he was raised by his strict grandmother. He also suffered from mental illnesses and never enjoyed robust physical health. Always in a state of mental turmoil, writing poetry was the only respite in his lonely life. He was a prolific poet and several collections of his poetry were published both during his lifetime and posthumously.
Rastafarian spoken-word poet who is best known for works such as Pen Rhythm, The Dread Affair: Collected Poems, and Funky Chickens. He released his internationally-acclaimed spoken-word album, Rasta, in 1982.
Wilfred Owen was an English poet and solider. His family shuffled between Birkenhead and Shrewsbury during his childhood, and he was educated at the Birkenhead Institute and at Shrewsbury Technical School. Raised as an Anglican, he was a devout believer in his youth. However, he lost faith in the church because of its ceremony and failure to help those in need. He enlisted in the Artists' Rifles Officers' Training Corps when war broke out. He trained at Hare Hall Camp in Essex, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment. With a trench mortar hitting him, he was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh for treatment. There he met poet Siegfried Sassoon whose realism, and the romanticism of Keats and Shelly influenced his poetry a great deal. Historians regard Owen as a leading poet of the First World War. He is famous for his war poetry on the horrors of trench and gas warfare. His best-known works are Dulce et Decorum Est, Insensibility, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Futility and Strange Meeting. While attempting to cross the Sambre canal, he was shot and killed. The news of his death arrived at his parents' house in Shrewsbury on Armistice Day.