Poetry has been and will continue as a wonderful literary form and Catholics throughout history have made a huge impact. This has led me to seek out Catholic poets and read some of their work. Below I have provided a list of Catholic poets if anyone, like me, is interested in reading some poetry by Catholic authors.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the author of the much-loved The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was also a poet. He wrote some of his other stories about Middle Earth in verse.
Click here to check out some of Tolkien’s poetry.
Pope Saint John Paul II
Karol Józef Wojtyła was a talented soccer player who originally intended to pursue a career in the theater but followed the Lord’s call to the priesthood and eventually the papacy. Despite giving up his plans to become a professional actor in favor of God’s will, Saint John Paul II was never far from the arts. He wrote reviews of his old acting troupe under a pseudonym while serving as a priest, and wrote several plays in his lifetime. Additionally, Saint John Paul II authored many poems during the 84 years of his life.
Click here to check out some of JPII’s poetry.
The larger-than-life Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote in basically every genre imaginable. He wrote mysteries, art and literary critiques, opinion columns, comedy, plays, biographies, apologetics, and poetry.
Click here to check out some of Chesterton’s poetry.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Author of the Summa and a topic about which Chesterton wrote, Saint Thomas Aquinas is also known for writing Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium, a Latin hymn. The last two verses of this poem are often chanted during Adoration.
Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc, a friend of G.K. Chesterton, was a prolific writer in the early 20th century. In his poetical works, Belloc wrote both religious poems and children’s poems.
Click here to check out some of Belloc’s poetry.
This fourth-century saint is thought to be one of the greatest religious poets of all time. According to catholic.org, Saint “Ephrem is given credit for awakening the Church to the importance of music and poetry in spreading and fortifying the faith.” In other words, he was a straight-up baller.
Click here to check out some of Saint Ephrem’s poetry.
William Shakespeare (allegedly)
Much of the Bard’s life is shrouded in mystery. There is a large number of scholars who assert that Shakespeare, who composed numerous sonnets, was, in fact, a Roman Catholic.
Click here to check out some of Shakespeare’s poetry.
Bl. Herman the Cripple
Born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida, Herman of Reichenau was abandoned at a Benedictine monastery at age seven where he would remain for the rest of his life. In addition to the disabilities with which he was born, he later went blind. Despite his disabilities, Herman became a scholar, learned four languages, and wrote about a great number of subjects. His two most famous writings are the Marian hymns, Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater. This begs the question: Why hasn’t he been canonized?!
St. Gregory of Nazianzen
Saint Gregory of Nazianzen opposed Arianism and served as bishop of Constantinople. He also wrote poems on Sacred Scripture and theology.
Click here to check out some of Saint Gregory’s poetry.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
The Little Flower authored not only Story of a Soul but also numerous poems.
Click here to check out some of her poetry.
Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation. So, basically, he is the American Chesterton or Belloc.
Click here to check out some of Kilmer’s poetry.
St. John of the Cross
The spiritual master, John of the Cross, also wrote poetry. He is most famous, however, for appearing in the profile picture for the Dank Night of the Soul Facebook page.
Click here to check out some of Saint John’s poetry.
Lived from (1265-1321) Wrote the three masterpieces to the Divine Comedy within three years. Respected as a poetical genius by Catholics and seculars alike, there is no match for Dante. His tomb reads “The most honored poet” and it is surely correct.
If you have a hankering for some good poetry check out this article by EpicPew’s Stephen Mirarchi about poets that the popes want you to read.
I guess one could include me in this list, but I am not nearly as good as the names listed above.