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Poetry Book Classics - Top 30

From once upon till now. Making a conclusive list of the top 30 poetry classics across centuries and styles is quite a task! However, a diverse selection spans from antiquity to modern times, featuring titles, poets, years, styles, and some translations.

"Stack of poetry books showcasing diverse covers and titles, representing classic and contemporary poets, literary anthologies, and varied poetic styles."

The help of search engines, research, and chatGPT suggests that poetry books throughout history might be crucial here.

  1. "The Iliad"

  • Bard: Homer

  • Epoch: Estimated 8th century BCE

  • Genre: Epic Poetry

  • Rendition: Diverse translations by Alexander Pope, Richmond Lattimore, Robert Fagles, among others.

  1. "The Odyssey"

  • Bard: Homer

  • Era: Estimated 8th century BCE

  • Style: Epic Poetry

  • Rendition: Multiple translations by Robert Fitzgerald, Emily Wilson, Samuel Butler, and more.

  1. "The Aeneid"

  • Poet: Virgil

  • Era: 29-19 BCE

  • Style: Epic Poetry

  • Rendition: Assorted translations by Robert Fagles, David West, Sarah Ruden, and similar wordsmiths.

  1. "The Divine Comedy"

  • Bard: Dante Alighieri

  • Timeframe: 1308-1320

  • Genre: Narrative Epic Poetry

  • Rendition: Varying translations by John Ciardi, Dorothy L. Sayers, Allen Mandelbaum, and their ilk.

  1. "Ruba'iyat"

  • Poet: Omar Khayyam

  • Time: 11th century

  • Style: Persian Quatrains

  • Rendition: Varied translations by Edward FitzGerald, Peter Avery, A.J. Arberry, and others.

  1. "The Canterbury Tales"

  • Bard: Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Time: Late 14th century

  • Style: Narrative Poetry

  • Rendition: An array of translations and adaptations exist.

  1. "Paradise Lost"

  • Poet: John Milton

  • Year: 1667

  • Style: Epic Poetry

  • Rendition: Translated into diverse languages, albeit not in the traditional verse form.

  1. "Songs of Innocence and of Experience"

  • Poet: William Blake

  • Timeframe: 1789 (Songs of Innocence), 1794 (Songs of Experience)

  • Genre: Lyric Poetry

  • Rendition: Rarely translated due to Blake's unique style and language.

  1. "Leaves of Grass"

  • Poet: Walt Whitman

  • Edition: First in 1855, revisions until 1892

  • Style: Free Verse Poetry

  • Rendition: Multiple translations across different languages.

  1. "Les Fleurs du Mal" (The Flowers of Evil)

  • Bard: Charles Baudelaire

  • Year: 1857

  • Genre: Symbolist Poetry

  • Rendition: Varied translations by William Aggeler, Richard Howard, James McGowan, and similar artisans.

  1. "Sonnets from the Portuguese"

  • Poet: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  • Year: 1850

  • Style: Sonnet Sequence

  • Translation: Not typically translated due to being in English.

  1. "The Waste Land"

  • Poet: T.S. Eliot

  • Year: 1922

  • Style: Modernist Poetry

  • Translation: Some translations into other languages exist.

  1. "Collected Poems"

  • Poet: W.B. Yeats

  • Year: Various works from late 19th to early 20th century

  • Style: Various, from lyrical to symbolic poetry

  • Translation: Various translations are available in different languages.

  1. "Four Quartets"

  • Poet: T.S. Eliot

  • Year: 1935-1942

  • Style: Philosophical Poetry

  • Translation: some translations into other languages.

  1. "Selected Poems"

  • Poet: Emily Dickinson

  • Year: Mid-19th to early 20th century

  • Style: Lyric Poetry

  • Translation: Translations exist in various languages.

  1. "Ariel"

  • Poet: Sylvia Plath

  • Year: 1965

  • Style: Confessional Poetry

  • Translation: Translated into several languages.

  1. "The Sun and Her Flowers"

  • Poet: Rupi Kaur

  • Year: 2017

  • Style: Modern Poetry

  • Translation: Translated into multiple languages.

  1. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

  • Poet: T.S. Eliot

  • Year: 1915

  • Style: Modernist Poetry

  • Translation: Available in various languages.

  1. "Howl and Other Poems"

  • Poet: Allen Ginsberg

  • Year: 1956

  • Style: Beat Poetry

  • Translation: Translated into several languages.

  1. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

  • Poet: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Year: 1798

  • Style: Narrative Poetry

  • Translation: Various translations in different languages.

  1. "The Raven"

  • Poet: Edgar Allan Poe

  • Year: 1845

  • Style: Narrative Poetry

  • Translation: Translated into many languages.

  1. "Lyrical Ballads"

  • Poet: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Year: 1798

  • Style: Lyrical Poetry

  • Translation: Available in various languages.

  1. "The Book of Songs"

  • Poet: Confucius and other ancient Chinese poets

  • Year: Approx. 6th-5th century BCE

  • Style: Classical Chinese Poetry

  • Translation: Various translations exist.

  1. "The Rubaiyat of Rumi"

  • Poet: Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

  • Year: 13th century

  • Style: Sufi Poetry

  • Translation: Various translations by Coleman Barks, Reynold Nicholson, etc.

  1. "Selected Poems"

  • Poet: Pablo Neruda

  • Year: Various works from 1924 to 1973

  • Style: Various, from lyrical to political poetry

  • Translation: Translated into numerous languages.

  1. "Beowulf"

  • Poet: Unknown (Old English epic)

  • Year: Estimated to 700-1000 AD

  • Style: Epic Poetry

  • Translation: Translated by Seamus Heaney, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.

  1. "Canzoniere" (Song Book)

  • Poet: Petrarch

  • Year: 14th century

  • Style: Petrarchan Sonnets

  • Translation: Various translations exist.

  1. "Selected Poems"

  • Poet: Langston Hughes

  • Year: Various works from the 1920s to the 1960s

  • Style: Harlem Renaissance Poetry

  • Translation: Translated into various languages.

  1. "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"

  • Poet: Oscar Wilde

  • Year: 1898

  • Style: Narrative Poetry

  • Translation: Available in various languages.

  1. "Selected Poems"

  • Poet: Arthur Rimbaud

  • Year: Late 19th century

  • Style: Symbolist Poetry

  • Translation: Various translations by Wallace Fowlie, Oliver Bernard, etc.

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