Poetry has come a long way. Many poets have used structured forms of poetry while others tried to write poetry just the way they wanted to, therefore, introducing something new to the world of poetry each time. By the early 1900s, poetry became more simple and in shorter forms. After 1945, poetry was more abstract and poets used experimental styles of poetry. In the 1960s, poetry changed with a style called the spoken word. This type of style was usually performed rather than words staying on pages of a book. When performed, the poetry becomes more of a statement on a particular topic.
Today's poetry comes in a variety of styles. It comes in music such as rap music and in lyrics written by songwriters and musicians. Here's some of who's who in the Poetry World.
Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) born in Savannah, Georgia. An American poet, novelist, playwright, and critic.
He won a Pulitzer Prize for his Selected Poems. In 1950, he became an Poet Laureate Consultant to the
Library of Congress.
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. An American novelist & poet.
Best known for her novel Little Women and its sequel Little Boys and Jo's Boys.
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) born in St. Louis, Missouri. An American poet & author. She has
received dozens of awards and over 30 honorary doctoral degrees. She recited her poem,
"On the Pulse of Morning" President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. She was the first person
to do an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost did one at President John F. Kennedy's
inauguration in 1961.
John Ashbery (born 1927) born in Rochester, New York. An American poet & 1976 Pulitzer Prize
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) born in Iga Provice, close to the city of Ueno. Basho is know for writing Haiku poems and recognized as the greatest master writer of Haiku. His poetry his famous worldwide. Many of his poems can be found on monuments in Japan.
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) born in Topeka, Kansas. An American poet, born in Topeka, Kansas and raised in Chicago. In 1950, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 1960, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.
E. E. Cummings (1892-1962) born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His poetry work includes 2,900 poems. He is remembered as the distinguished voice of 20th century poetry.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) born in Amherst, Massachusetts. An American poet and one of the quintessential poets of the 19th century. A very introverted and private poet. She wrote nearly 1,800 poems and out of the 1,800, only 11 of the poems are known to ever been published.
Robert Frost (1874-1963) born in San Francisco, California. An American poet who received four Pulitzer Prizes. He is one of the most prominent poets of the 20th century.
Nikki Giovanni (1943) born in Knoxville, Tennessee. An American writer, commentator, activist, and educator. She has received 19 honorary doctorates and other awards, including "Woman of the Year" awards. She was commissioned to create an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. Giovanni read poetry at the Lincoln Memorial as a part of the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birthday.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) born in Joplin, Missouri. An American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He won his first award, the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Prize in 1926. He is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. In addition to writing poetry, he wrote novels, short stories, plays, operas, essays, and works for children. Hughes was featured reciting his poetry on the album Weary Blues in 1959 and contributed lyrics to Randy Weston's Uhuru Afrika in 1960.
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) born in Parrel, Chile. A Chilean poet. He came known as a poet when he was a teenager. In 1971, he won the Noble Prize for Literature. Neruda often wrote in green ink. This color ink was his personal symbol for desire and hope with his poetry.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) born in Bost Massachusetts. He became one of America's most famous poets and short-story writers. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1809.
His first volume of poetry was Tamerlane and Other Poems. It was published in 1827. Two years later, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems was issued.
Poe worked as an editor and critic for the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Virginia and increased magazine's circulation from 500 to 3,500. He later worked for magazines in Philadelphia and New York City. Poe contributed much to the development of modern day short stories. His last volume of poetry, The Raven and Other Poems, appeared in 1845.
Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) born in Frederick County, Maryland. An American lawyer, author, and amateur poet. He wrote the lyrics to, USA's theme song, The Star-Spangled Banner.
Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) born in Chicago, Illinois. An American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screen writer, and author. He began writing and drawing at a very young age. He is well-known for his revolutionary and iconic children's poetry. One of his most popular books is the Giving Tree.
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) born in Senegambia, West Africa. She was sold into slavery and arrived in North America on a ship named Phillis at the age of 7. She was name after that ship. John Wheatley purchased her and the surname was given to her. She was the first African-American woman, the 1st slave, and the 3rd woman in America to have a book of poems published. She gained international fame for her poetry writing.
Walt Whitman ( 1819-1892) born in Long Island, New York. An American poet essayist, journalist, and humanist. Widely considered to be one of America's best and most influential poets.