Do you know your Keats from your Yeats? Take the famous poets quiz!


Author Salman Rushdie once said that "a poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." Do you know a poet when you see one? Find out with our Famous Poets Quiz!

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Question 1 of 20

In 1996, the Nobel Prize in Literature went to Wisława Szymborska, a poet from this country.


... Polish poet Wisława Szymborska was so startled by her 1996 Nobel Prize that she stopped writing poems for a few years. Despite her many accolades and international fame, Szymborska published fewer than 400 poems in her lifetime.


Question 2 of 20

This Romantic poet wrote these lines: "She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies …"

Lord Byron
Robert Frost
William Wordsworth
W.B. Yeats

... Lord Byron's "She Walks in Beauty," one of his most famous poems, was inspired by a mourning dress worn by one of his female cousins in 1814.


Question 3 of 20

What is the title of the famous poem by William Wordsworth that begins, "I wandered lonely as a cloud"?

The Daffodils
Ode to Clouds
Lemon Grass

... Wordsworth's "The Daffodils" is well known for its famous first line. Wordsworth published many works during his life, but is perhaps best known for "The Prelude," which was released after his death in 1850.


Question 4 of 20

Though this poet published few works during her lifetime, she left behind more than 40 hand-bound collections -- containing nearly 1,800 poems -- after her death in 1886.

Sylvia Plath
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Bishop
Emily Dickinson

... Emily Dickinson published few works during her lifetime, and those few that were sent to print were heavily edited by publishers. Upon her death, her family discovered a treasure trove of around 1,800 private works.


Question 5 of 20

Fact or fiction: Russian poet Anna Akhmatova gained fame in the U.S.S.R. thanks to her devotion to Stalin and her service to the Soviet regime.


... Fiction: Throughout her career Anna Akhmatova angered Russian leaders with her criticism of Russian politics and of other writers of the time period. After her son was arrested in 1949, Akhmatova wrote poems praising Stalin in an effort to win her son's release. When this effort failed, Akhmatova requested that these poems be excluded from her collected works.


Question 6 of 20

Some critics have associated the American poet Langston Hughes with this style of poetry.

jazz poetry
epic poetry

... Langston Hughes helped to establish a rhythmic verse style known as jazz poetry. He is also considered one of the founding influences of the Harlem Renaissance.


Question 7 of 20

Complete the last line from the classic Robert Frost poem: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, _____________"

I doubted if I should ever come back.
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
And sorry I could not travel both.
And that has made all the difference.

... Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" describes a choice between two paths. When the narrator looks back on the moment of decision that led to his continuing journey, he concludes the poem by proclaiming (with a sigh), "And that has made all the difference."


Question 8 of 20

Elizabeth Bishop served as the U.S. Library of Congress's consultant in poetry from 1949 to 1950, and later won a Pulitzer Prize. How many poems did she publish during her lifetime?

more than 10,000

... Despite her many recognitions and awards, Elizabeth Bishop published just 101 poems. Rather than publishing a great number of works, she preferred to take her time to perfect each piece.


Question 9 of 20

This Irish poet -- author of the famous lines, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer …" -- won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

W.B. Yeats
John Keats
Robert Frost
William Wordsworth

... These lines are from William Butler Yeats's apocalyptic poem "Second Coming." The poem concludes with the speaker wondering "what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"


Question 10 of 20

Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, was a native of this region.


... Rabindranath Tagore of Bengal was the first non-European to take the Nobel Prize in literature. He was also a close friend of Mohandas Gandhi, as well as a popular poet, author and spiritual leader.


Question 11 of 20

The early African-American poet Phillis Wheatley wrote a poem in praise of this future U.S. president.

Abraham Lincoln
George Washington
Andrew Jackson
Franklin D. Roosevelt

... The poet Phillis Wheatley lived as a slave during the second half of the 18th century, serving a wealthy Boston family. After learning to read and write, she became a celebrated poet in America and Great Britain. In 1776, she wrote "His Excellency General Washington," which praised the "great chief" who would become the first U.S. President. Afterward, Washington and Wheatley exchanged letters and eventually met in person.


Question 12 of 20

Fact or fiction: John Keats was one of history's most prolific writers, publishing more than 15,000 poems in his short life.


... Fiction: Though Keats is one of history's best-known English-language poets, he published just 54 poems before dying at the age of 25. He is often recognized for his five great odes, written in 1819, including the famous "Ode to a Nightingale."


Question 13 of 20

In addition to his spooky short stories, Edgar Allan Poe wrote many poems, including one dedicated to this type of bird.


... Along with dark tales like "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Cask of Amontillado," Poe wrote numerous poems. One of his most famous, "The Raven," tells of a melancholy man visited by an otherworldly raven.


Question 14 of 20

This American poet self-published his collection "Leaves of Grass" in 1855.

Walt Whitman
Langston Hughes
John Keats
William Wordsworth 

... Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" was inspired by his travels through the American frontier. After publishing his masterpiece, Whitman spent many years working in hospitals, caring for patients injured during the Civil War. Though he struggled financially, he spent much of the money he earned on supplies to help his patients.


Question 15 of 20

What was the name of the well-known poet of the ancient world whom Plato called, "The tenth muse"?


... Sappho was born around 615 B.C. on the island of Lesbos, Greece. Though little of her work survives, she remains one of the most celebrated poets of the ancient world.


Question 16 of 20

What style of poetry was Japanese poet Basho best known for?


... Basho remains of the most famous poets from Japan's Edo period, known for his mastery of haiku. He spent time as samurai warrior before devoting himself to this 17-syllable style of expression.


Question 17 of 20

What country did poet Pablo Neruda hail from?


... Pablo Neruda was born in southern Chile. After selling all his possessions to publish his first work, "Crepusculario" ("Twilight"), in 1923, Neruda went on to enjoy a long career as both a diplomat and a writer.


Question 18 of 20

What semi-autobiographical novel did poet Sylvia Plath publish in 1963, the same year she committed suicide using a gas oven?

The Daffodils
George Gordon
The Bell Jar

... Sylvia Plath published "The Bell Jar" in 1963, then committed suicide shortly after. "The Collected Poems," a book of her poetry, earned her a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1982.


Question 19 of 20

English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote many celebrated works, but his second wife was a famous author in her own right, thanks to this novel.

Pride and Prejudice
The Awakening

... Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote many well-known poems, including "The Masque of Anarchy" and "Queen Mab." He was also a dedicated vegetarian and wrote numerous works on the subject. His wife Mary Shelley wrote the horror classic "Frankenstein."


Question 20 of 20

This 1909 Rudyard Kipling poem was written to provide advice for his son.

The Jungle
Something of Myself
The Seven Seas

... Kipling's 1909 classic, "If," was written to provide advice for his son. It begins with a long series of conditional "if" statements, such as, "If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you ..." and ends with the iconic line, "And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!"


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