Some forms of writing are simply magical, nothing can compare to how deep and meaningful they are, how they elevate our senses and grab our focus and attention. Are you wondering what type of literature does that to us the most?  If you guessed poetry, then you are right. Poetry is one of the most beloved pieces of literature. Some famous poems were so outstanding they have moved the hearts of entire nations.

Famous poets throughout history have blessed us with priceless poems to read. The poets come from all places imaginable, from Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Famous poets came from all over the world and from different times in history.

Some of these poets have successfully started movements such as kickstarting the romantic age, civil rights movements, and so forth. And others founded organizations to further their rightful cause.

But what they did the most, in support of their beliefs and causes, is to write poems to inspire others.  Although poetry is also written because of friendship, love, and otherworldly topics. There are world war poems, romantic poems, wedding poems, nature poems, etc.

We will be looking at some of the best poets in Nigeria, then look at famous poets' names from around the world, both male and female poets, then we are going to enjoy reading a few famous poems.

Famous poetry are often great enjoyable reads.
                      Famous poems gave life to simple words on paper. Source: Unsplash.

You can become a great poet yourself, just pick from any of the thousands of poetry tutors in Nigeria to begin.

Famous Nigerian Poets

Nigeria is home to some of the best poets to ever live, they have pioneered many important things during their lives.

Some examples include; girl-child education, introduction of literary societies to their communities, advocacy for general child education, fighting for independence, to mention a few.

Let's take a trip down history lane to see just who are these famous Nigerian poets.

Christopher Okigbo

His name was Christopher Ifekandu Okigbo, and was born on 16 August 1932. He was a revolutionary and he supported the independence of his native Igbo homeland. Sadly, he even died fighting for the cause during the Nigerian Civil War.

His whole life he was surrounded by education, probably because his father was a teacher, this was at a time when educated young people were scarce in Nigeria. Christopher became a librarian and was the assistant librarian at the University of Nsukka. He was also a teacher.

His poems are often political in nature, and he was one of the top African poets to-date. Some of his poetry collections include Heavensgate, Labyrinth, and Collected poems.

Mabel Segun

Mabel Segun is an interesting character. She is a famous female Nigerian poet and writer of children’s books. But in between, she is also a sportswoman, a broadcaster, a playwright, and a teacher.  If Jack was a man of all trades, she was indeed the Jill of all trades. Mabel Segun was born in Ondo state and studied at the University of Ibadan.

She wrote many novels and children books, but one of her best and most acclaimed work was her first book, My Father’s Daughter, it is used as a textbook across the globe.

Most of the poems she published were for children. Some of her literary works have been translated into many languages because of her expanding audience. As of 2020, she clocked 90 years of age.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri is a famous Nigerian novelist, author, poet, and essayist. He is also a film scriptwriter and playwright. He was born on 15 March 1959 and for most of his life, he studied in London.

His poetry collections include An African Elegy. He was a recipient of many awards including the Booker Prize in English Literature and The Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum.

Read more poems by Nigerian poets. 

List Of Famous Poets From Around The World

These are some of the most famous poets in the world, their verses have shaken the hearts of millions from the very roots. And they continue to be an inspiration to this day.

Elizabeth Barret Browning

Elizabeth Barret Browning was a famous female poet from the Victorian era. She started writing poems from a very young age and was admired by many in England and the US.

A framed portrait of her was hung by the famous poet Emily Dickinson in her bedroom.

Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is a famous Instagram poet. Her first poetry collection was so successful she sold more than 8 million copies and it was translated into 42 languages. She was featured in magazines, talk shows and a lot of blogs. She is easily one of the best contemporary poets we know of. She is proof that poetry was never declining even in the modern age.

The #poetry hashtag on Instagram at the time of this writing is currently at 53 million posts.

Pablo Neruda

He is a Chilean poet who became popular right from his youth. His poems are mostly written in Spanish but have long been translated into English and other languages.

Pablo Neruda is considered the greatest Latin American poet of all time.

Robert Frost

Robert Frost was an American poet from a place called New England. By definition, it is the uppermost eastern part of the United State. Comprises of states such as Boston and Massachusetts.

He loves to write about New England and he often displays its picturesque beauty in his poems.

Robert frost poems.
New England is a beautiful place to write about. Source: Unsplash.

Famous Romantic Poets

Now, of the famous poets, some really left their mark as romantic poets. We can imagine they must have been very popular with the girls.

Some of the most famous love poems were as a result of their contribution to this genre of poetry writing.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was a famous English poet (from England)This poet is often credited with starting the romantic age or romanticism in poetry writing. He is the author of many love poems that were popular back then and are still popular now.

However, it isn’t that there weren’t love poems written before his time, but he was responsible for styling and packaging this certain type of writing and creating an emphasis on love in English poetic literature.

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” ― William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare doesn’t need an introduction. If you remember your JSS three literature or English Language classes very well, you will remember touching upon the subject of some of Shakespeare’s works, such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Tempest, Macbeth, etc.

But perhaps he is most known for the plethora of love poems he wrote, and for creating the sonnet, a form of poetry writing like the Haiku of Japan or the Ballad of Europe.

He is considered by many, as the most famous love poet to have ever lived.

Some Famous Captivating Poems

Poems have been featured in films on television, they have been read in Presidential inaugurations, and they have been read in prison by inmates to ease their suffering. The point is, poems are very powerful.

And below are some of the most extraordinary famous poems in the world. First up, we have Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Invictus

This poem is one of the most powerful poems in human history. It is very inspirational and has been a source of motivation for many in their hour of need.

The South African President Nelson Mandela, read the poem to other inmates while he was imprisoned at Robben Island.

 Poems can be a source of joy, even while someone is locked up. Source: Unsplash.

Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

This famous poem by Dylan Thomas is about old age and not giving up, that even when you are not in your prime, you shouldn’t go out that easily.

It was featured in the Hollywood sci-fi movie Interstellar, and was narrated in the movie by Sir Michael Caine.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Answer

Written by Chinua Achebe, the man considered the father of African literature. His books have been translated into dozens of languages for audiences all across the world. This poem is just one of his many amazing write-ups.

I broke at last

the terror-fringed fascination

that bound my ancient gaze

to those crowding faces

of plunder and seized my

remnant life in a miracle

of decision between white-

collar hands and shook it

like a cheap watch in

my ear and threw it down

beside me on the earth floor

and rose to my feet. I

made of their shoulders

and heads bobbing up and down

a new ladder and leaned

it on their sweating flanks

and ascended till midair

my hands so new to harshness

could grapple the roughness of a prickly

day and quench the source

that fed turbulence to their

feet. I made a dramatic

descent that day landing

backways into crouching shadows

into potsherds of broken trance. I

flung open long-disused windows

and doors and saw my hut

new-swept by rainbow brooms

of sunlight become my home again

on whose trysting floor waited

my proud vibrant life.

Do you wish to read more poems, how about these six famous poems in Nigeria?

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Hafiz

Hafiz is a freelance writer who has an appetite for creativity and smart tech. He also dabbles in poetry.