INFOGRAPHIC: The 10 Most Influential Poets in (Western) History

A who influenced who look at the history of Western poetry

If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.

Although the title of the infographic implies it is looking at all poetry, it seems pretty clear that this is more a list of the most influential poets in Western English-language poetry, not all poetry from around the world.

How did they come up with this list?

We conducted extensive research to find out who the top poetry influencers were and studied approximately 250 poets to determine whether they were influenced by any other poets, and, if so, who. We entered more than 1000 influences into our database to come up with our top ten, which you can see in the infographic.

You can read more about their methodology here.

More Like This

A Public Reckoning With the Truth About Yellow Rain and the Secret War

Mai Der Vang, author of the poetry collection "Yellow Rain," refuses to let Hmong history be erased

Sep 21 - Kao Kalia Yang

7 Poetry Collections by Women Rewriting History

From the Paleolithic era to the Salem Witch Trials, Katy Simpson Smith recommends verse that takes a deep dive into the past

Mar 23 - Katy Simpson Smith

Which WWI Poet Should You Fight?

Obviously you're going to have to throw hands with one of the great warrior-bards of the early 20th century—but who?

Jan 3 - McKayla Coyle
Thank You!