Main Content for Page

Great Poets of the World

The history of poets is as old as humankind itself. This inspiring eight part series, Great Poets of the World, takes viewers on a journey of the evolution of poetry from the earliest poets of Asia, to the lyrical and spiritual works of the Middle East's poets, to the great poets of the Renaissance and modern Europe, to the long tradition of English poetry, to the emerging poetic literary tradition of North America, and to the avant-garde poets of Spain and South America. This insightful eight part series, Great Poets of the World, covers the greatest poets of the ages, pre-eminent poets and their works from all over the world.
  • Title ID 97-GPW
  • English, American Literature, English Literature, Shakespeare
  • 8 Programs
  • 13 Supplemental Files
  • 10th Grade through Post Secondary
  • Published by Ambrose Video Publishing Inc./Centre Communications
Included Programs
Supplemental Files

Included Programs

Shakespeare's PoetryRunning time is 57 minutes

The first pillar of English literature is William Shakespeare. The first program discusses the works and mind of the English language's greatest poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, through the Shakespearean sonnet and his epic long poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

Chapter List
Chapter 1 - Early Life
Poet and playwright William Shakespeare, affectionately known as the Bard, was born in Stratford on Avon, and moved to London where he wrote plays for the Globe Theatre until bubonic plague shut down the theatres and he began to write poetry.
Chapter 2 - Venus and Adonis
William Shakespeare wrote Venus and Adonis, basing it on Ovid's Metamorphoses and dedicated it to his patron, Henry Wriothesley, Earl of South Hampton.
Chapter 3 - The Rape of Lucrece
William Shakespeare wrote The Rape of Lucrece, based on the brutal rape of Lucretia, the wife of a Roman artistocrat, by the King of Rome's son, Sextus Tarquinus.
Chapter 4 - The Shakespearean Sonnet
William Shakespeare created the Shakespearean sonnet, which differed in form from the Italian Petrarchan Sonnet.
Chapter 5 - The Fair Youth Sonnets: 1-126
William Shakespeare wrote the Fair Youth Sonnets, 1-126, including Sonnet 20 and his most famous sonnet, Sonnet 18 - Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day.
Chapter 6 - The Dark Lady Sonnets: 127-154
William Shakespeare wrote the Dark Lady Sonnets, 127-154, including Sonnet 130.
Chapter 7 - The Legacy of Shakespeare's Sonnets
William Shakespeare's sonnets have a legacy of immortality, beauty and love.
Chapter 8 - Metaphysical Poetry
The Phoenix and the Turtle, written by William Shakespeare, was the world's first metaphysical poetry, and was about the love between the phoenix and the turtledove.
Chapter 9 - The Later Years
In his later years, Shakespeare became a part owner of the Globe Theatre and returned to Stratford where he died.

Spanish-language PoetsRunning time is 29 minutes

Spanish explorers and missionaries intermingled with New World cultures like no other colonial power. The result was an artistic expression that spread through the entire Spanish-speaking world. This second program, Spanish Language Poets, examines the mixture of Spanish American and Old World Spanish cultures, which gave rise to some of the greatest poets the world has ever seen, including Juan Ram'on Jim'enez, Antonio Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges.

Chapter List
1912 - Juan Ramon Jimenez and Antonio Machado, Fathers of Modern Spanish Poetry
Juan Ram'on Jim'enez and Antonio Machado led Spain's Second Golden Age of Spanish Poetry.
1929 - Federico Garcia Lorca Pens Poet in New York
Spain's premier surrealist poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, published Poet in New York in 1930 before returning to Granada, Spain, where he died at the hands of Fascists in 1936.
1947 - Pablo Neruda Establishes the Latin American Literary Voice
Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda wrote Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, and Residence on Earth.
1957 - Octavio Paz's Piedra de Sol
Mexican poet Octavio Paz resurrected the history of the Aztec Empire through his poetry, including his most famous work - Piedra de Sol or Sunstone.
1960 - Jorge Luis Borges, A Latin American Original
Argentinian poet, Jorge Luis Borges, used his poetry to explore non-reality and human consciousness.

Poets of the European ContinentRunning time is 29 minutes

As Europe emerged from the medieval ages into the Renaissance and the modern era, her poetic traditions evolved at the same time. This third program, Poets of the European Continent, analyzes the many unique voices and poetic styles found throughout mainland Europe - including France, Germany, Italy, and Russia - and how each developed their own unique poetry, shown in the diverse works of such poets as Dante Alighieri, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Charles Baudelaire, Ren'e Karl Wilhelm Josef Maria Rilke and Joseph Brodsky.

Chapter List
1308-1321 - Dante's Divine Comedy
The Florentine poet, Dante Alighieri, wrote the Divine Comedia, influenced by his muse, Beatrice.
1782 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Renaissance Man
German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, wrote The Erlking and Faust.
1857 - Charles Baudelaire, Father of the Symbolist Movement
French poet, Charles Baudelaire, who coined the term Modernity and started Europe's Symbolist Movement, wrote Fleur de Mal - Flowers of Evil.
1902 - Rainer Maria Rilke Writes 'The Panther'
German language poet, Rainier Maria Rilke wrote Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus.
1988 - Joseph Brodsky's To Urania is Published
Russian poet and Nobel Prize winner, Joseph Brodsky, who was born Ioseph Aleksandrovich Brodsky, wrote his best known collections - A Part of Speech and To Urania - in the United States.

English-language Poets: 8th Century A.D. - 1830Running time is 29 minutes

England's long poetic tradition can be traced back to her greatest epic long poem, Beowulf. The fourth program, English-language Poets: 8th Century AD to 1830, shows how the English language transitioned from Old English to Middle English, and finally to the rich and brilliant words of the Romantic Era's poets, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, John Milton, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats.

Chapter List
8th Century A.D. - Beowulf
The Anglo Saxon epic long poem, Beowulf, written in Old English tells of the defeat of the monster Grendel by the Norse hero Beowulf.
1387-1400 - Geoffrey Chaucer Writes The Canterbury Tales
Writing in Middle English, Geoffrey Chaucer created the Canterbury Tales, which is about pilgrims, including the nun, physician, knight, merchant, Summoner, miller and cook, who made a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral in Medieval England.
1590 - Edmund Spenser Publishes The Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser created the Spenserian Stanza with his long poem The Faerie Queene, which helped introduce Elizabethan romantic poetry.
1658 - John Milton Begins Paradise Lost
At the end of the English Renaissance period, John Milton, an apologist for the English Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, began his epic Paradise Lost, with its main characters Archangel Lucifer, God, Adam and Eve, taking place in Eden, and was completed during the restoration Monarchy of Charles II, when he also finished Paradise Regained.
1786 - Robert Burns' Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect
Robert Burns, Scotland's National Poet, broke free of the neo-classicist poets like Dryden and Pope and wrote lyrical poems as found in his breakthrough book - Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.
1819 - Lord Byron Pens Don Juan
George Gordon, Lord Byron, was a Romantic poet of the Romantic Era known for Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan.
1790-1830 The Four Romantic Poets
William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley were Romantic poets of England's Romantic Era, writing lyrical poetry, such as Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, and insightful commentaries such as Shelley's A Defense of Poetry.

English-language Poets: 1831 - 1894Running time is 29 minutes

The 19th century's Industrial Revolution would change not only the landscape of English and American politics and country but their literary traditions. The fifth program, English-language Poets: 1831 to 1894, examines a new breed of poet from Great Britain and America, who writes about the ever-evolving human condition. The poets include Edgar Allan Poe, William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Frost, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Chapter List
1845 - Edgar Allan Poe Publishes The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe wrote 'The Raven', one of the masterpieces of American poetry.
1850 - Wordsworth's Spiritual Autobiography Ends
William Wordsworth was one of the Romantic poets of England's Lake District.
1850 - Alfred Lord Tennyson is Made Poet Laureate of England
Alfred Lord Tennyson, who wrote the Charge of the Light Brigade, succeeded Wordsworth as England's Poet Laureate and bridged the chasm between the Romantic Era and the Victorian Age.
1852 - Emily Dickinson, America's Greatest Female Poet
Emily Dickinson was the 19th century's greatest woman poet.
1855 - Walt Whitman Publishes Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, was a poet who practiced transcendentalism.
1855 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Writes The Song of Hiawatha
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote The Song of Hiawatha, The Wreck of the Hesperus, and Paul Revere's Ride, was an American poet.
1864 - The Brownings
Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning were Victorian poets who bridged the chasm between Romanticism and modern British literature.
1894 - Robert Frost, America's Poet
Robert Frost, who wrote 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening', became the most beloved poet of the first half of the 20th century.

English-language Poets: 1895 - 1922Running time is 27 minutes

As the 20th Century dawned, England and America transitioned from agrarian based economies and societies to technological and industrial based ones. The sixth program, English Language poets: 1895 -1922, depicts how Irish poets led by W.B. Yeats brought on an Irish Literary revival; Black American poets led by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes would change the landscape of Black writing as in the Harlem Renaissance, and White American poets would lead the way with avant-garde realism.

Chapter List
1899 - Paul Laurence Dunbar's 'Sympathy'
Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote Oak and Ivory, and Sympathy, and was married to the famous poet Alice Ruth Moore.
1914 - Carl Sandburg Publishes his Poem Chicago
Carl Sandburg wrote 'Chicago' and became the first poet of the new realism school of American poetry.
1916 - W.B. Yeats, Father of the Irish Literary Revival
Nobel Prize winning poet W.B. (William Butler) Yeats, famous for his poetry, including Easter 1916 and Lake Isle of Innisfree, was a founder of the Irish Literary Revival and co-founded Dublin's Abbey Theatre with Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge, Se'an O'Casey and Padraic Colum.
1920 - e.e. cummings, Master of the Avant-Garde
e.e. cummings, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Henry Miller were poets and novelists known for their avant garde writing styles seen in The Hollow men, The Wasteland, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn among others.
1921 - 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes
Poet and civil rights activist Langston Hughes, known as the 'voice of the Harlem Renaissance', wrote The Negro Speaks of Rivers, I, Too Sing America, and The Big Sea.
1922 - T.S. Eliot, Intellectual Giant
Encouraged by Ezra Pound, Nobel Prize winning poet T.S. Eliot became a poet of the modernism school and wrote such works as The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Wasteland, The Hollow Men, and Four Quartets, and later he encouraged poets W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Ted Hughes.

English-language Poets: 1923 - PresentRunning time is 28 minutes

The 20th and 21st centuries saw technological innovation unprecedented in human history. The seventh program, English-language Poets: 1923-2009, examines how a new cadre of 20th and 21st Century poets, including W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Carlos Williams, Seamus Heaney, and Beat Generation poets, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, found new ways of expressing the human condition in a fast changing modern world.

Chapter List
1937 - Auden and Spender, the '30s Poets
W.H. Auden and Steven Spender were post modernist poets who founded the Auden Group at Oxford and were part of the 30s poets, which also included Christopher Isherwood, Cecil Day Lewis and Louis MacNeice.
1950 - Gwendolyn Brooks, First Black Pulitzer Prize Recipient
Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author who inspired the idea of 'Black is beautiful', wrote Annie Allen and Maud Martha.
1953 - Dylan Thomas, Larger-Than-Life Poet, Dies
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is known for his lyrical poetry and dramatic works, including Under Milk Wood, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, and A Child's Christmas in Wales.
1955 - Poet William Carlos Williams Publishes Journey to Love
William Carlos Williams was a leading Hispanic poet who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work.
1956 - The Beat Poets
The Beat Generation's Beat poets included Anne Waldman, Gary Snyder, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, who wrote about the dehumanizing effects of America's 20th century conformist society.
2009 - Seamus Heaney Reads 'Digging'
Poet Seamus Heaney, known for his hauntingly beautiful translation of Beowulf, won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his masterful poetry, including 'Digging'.

Poets of the Middle East and AsiaRunning time is 29 minutes

The eighth program, Poets of the Middle East and Asia, examines the unique poetry of the Middle East and Asia, from the Chinese Tang Dynasty's master poets - Li Bai and Du Fu; to the mystical writings of the Sufi poets - Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Omar Khayyam and Hafez; to the unique poetical Japanese form of Haiku practiced by Matsuo Basho; to the lyrical devotional Bhajans of India's Mira Bai; and finally to the inspiring verse of 20th century Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran.

Chapter List
c. 756 A.D. - Li Bai and Du Fu, Chinese Masters
Chinese poets Du Fu and Li Bai - also known as Li Po - were the premier poets of China's Tang Dynasty.
1258 - Rumi and the Mystical Islamic Poetic Tradition
Persia, the ancient name for the Middle Eastern nation of Iran, in the 11th - 14th centuries was home to many mystical and Sufi influenced poets, including Omar Khayyam, Hafez and Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, who wrote such mystical and divine poetry as The Rub'aiy'at of Omar Khayy'am, Divan Shams Tabrizi and Masnavi.
1538 - Mira Bai, Indian Poet and Saint
Indian poet, Mira Bai, wrote and performed her poetry that reflected India's distinctive poetic form known as Bhajans, a sacred Hindu devotional song.
1686 - Matsuo Basho, Haiku Master
Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho, was a master of haiku and wrote haiku's most famous verse - 'The Old Pond'.
1923 - Kahlil Gibran Publishes The Prophet
Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran, wrote the highly influential book, The Prophet.

Supplemental Files

Great Poets of the World - Educator's Guide
Great Poets of the World - Expert Citations
Great Poets of the World - Reading List
Great Poets of the World - Timeline
MARC Records for GPW
MARC records for the series Great Poets of the World
Transcription for Shakespeare's Poetry
Transcription for Spanish-language Poets
Transcription for Poets of the European Continent
Transcription for English-language Poets: 8th Century A.D. - 1830
Transcription for English-language Poets: 1831 - 1894
Transcription for English-language Poets: 1895 - 1922
Transcription for English-language Poets: 1923 - Present
Transcription for Poets of the Middle East and Asia