Best Poems of the English Language

catkins-bookshelf-literature“Ultimately, we seek out the best poems because something in many, if not most, of us quests for the transcendental and extraordinary, however secular, however well within the realm of the natural,” writes American literary critic Harold Bloom. ” We long, as Wordsworth wrote, for ‘something evermore about to be.’ The marvelous comes to us, when it comes, in very different forms: ideally in another person, but sometimes by an otherness in the self.” The editors of Best Poems Encyclopedia have assembled the list of the “100 top poems of the English language.” As with any “best of” list, no list is perfect; a quick review of the list reveals some obvious omissions (for example, the absence of Chaucer, Spenser, Hopkins, and Thoreau). While some of the poems are very well-known, others are more obscure; however most of the major poets of English literature are represented – from Shakespeare to Angelou. Here are the top 50 poems from their list:

A Birthday Poem by Ted Kooser
A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
A Girl by Ezra Pound
A Poet To His Beloved by William Butler Yeats
A Poison Tree by William Blake
A pretty a day by E. E. Cummings
A Word to Husbands by Ogden Nash
All the World’s a Stage by William Shakespeare
America by Allen Ginsberg
And The Moon And The Stars And The World by Charles Bukowski
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
As Soon as Fred Gets Out of Bed by Jack Prelutsky
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio by James Wright
Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face by Jack Prelutsky
Bear In There by Shel Silverstein
Birches by Robert Frost
Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats
By An Evolutionist by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Daddy by Sylvia Plath
Deaths And Entrances by Dylan Thomas
Dedication by Robert Louis Stevenson
Digging by Seamus Heaney
Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes
During Wind And Rain by Thomas Hardy
Epithalamion by e.e. cummings
Fast rode the knight by Stephen Crane
Filling Station by Elizabeth Bishop
Frost At Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Happiness by Raymond Carver
Howl by Allen Ginsberg
I Cannot Live With You by Emily Dickinson
I carry your heart with me by E. E. Cummings
I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
I Taught Myself To Live Simply by Anna Akhmatova
I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth
If those I loved were lost by Emily Dickinson
If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda
If You Have Seen by Thomas Moore
In Arthur’s House by William Morris
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes
Life is fine by Langston Hughes
Mending Wall by Robert Frost
Messy Room by Shel Silverstein
No Second Troy by William Butler Yeats
O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

Read related posts: The Poem I Turn To
Why We Read Poetry
When Power Corrupts, Poetry Cleanses

For further reading:
The Best Poems of the English Language by Harold Bloom (2004)

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: