Best Poets of the 20th Century?

Jeffery Hart in the latest issue of National Review [subscription required]:

Today’s critical consensus on 20th-century poets in English looks something like this: Eliot and Yeats, tied for first; Frost second (not prolific enough after his earlier best stuff); Pound, Stevens, and Auden battling for third.

Are there any poetry experts or fans out there that can confirm or deny this? I really feel my education in this area is incomplete and I was thinking of doing some reading on these consensus picks. If you feel differently say so in the comments.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

View all posts

1 Comment

  • That does seem to pretty much the general consensus course it depends upon whom your consending. It’s weighted pre-1950, and a fine collection of anglo white boys. But look at the photo for the Adademy of American Poets and you’ll see a bunch of wizened white boys so it’s no wonder. In my arrogant and unthinking opinion, Frost sucks, Auden is great, where the fuck are Williams? Marianne Moore? Elizabeth BishoP–personally the darkhorse candidate for the best poet of the century. I’d say look at some of Hugh Kenner’s writing and begin at the beginning fo the century but remmber that rag you looked at probably has a dart board with Ginsberg’s photo in the middle.