Great Wordsmiths

This post is about articulating my thoughts on this subject and to make this even more comprehensive I would greatly value your input, opinion and ideas on the topic? And if you feel inclined I’d prefer that you add your list of ‘Great Wordsmiths’ … please join my discussion by posting on the topic and linking it back here.

‘Wordsmith’ means “a skilled user of words”. A “Great Wordsmith” means much more …

There are many talented authors and poets I’d consider to be wordsmiths, but to me a ‘great wordsmith’ is bigger than that again.

It is someone with a comprehensive command of their language who uses that incredible talent to communicate their point of view, their passion. These are often not aligned with mainstream views and in my mind that makes them ‘activists’.

And activists are not only environmentalists, they include all manner of subjects like politics, humanity, social consciousness, trending issues and so much more. Some may focus solely on one topic but for the most part they will have comprehensive views or opinions about various facets of many things. A deep thinker who observes and debates all facets of life then fluidly articulates it.

Google it and see what your search engine reveals … one blogger made a comprehensive list that she called ‘wordsmiths’ but to my eye it seemed like a list of great authors. A great author requires many talents such as developing characters, a story flow, setting the scene and then weave dialogue and other writing skills to achieve this. Just as a talented ‘great’ poet may use various styles or formats of poetry to convey their POV but they don’t frequently register on the wordsmith barometer.

In that they certainly have flashes of skilful language use but their talent lies more in the formal format or the conveying of the storyline. Some have a flashy use of language that the average reader struggles to comprehend. But a ‘Great Wordsmith’ frequently registers on that wordsmith barometer, they entertain and challenge, they evoke deep emotions or thought. They are fluid in language and their thinking enabling the average person to readily comprehend.

Those on my list are not prone to grandstanding or openly seeking fame and fortune. They tend to be humble, confident and painfully honest, ready to defend their POV but more peace-lovers than fighters. Accepting that they cannot change hearts/minds but will continue to challenge them. They wish to leave the world a better place and have faith that humanity can save itself eventually even after all the mistakes we’ve made. They take a stronger ethical stance beyond mere entertainment.

So for me a ‘great’ wordsmith involves masterful use of language to challenge the norm or status quo. They don’t feed into ego or ‘accepted’ ideas. They have a passion to challenge, confront, convey, and communicate; to make us think in an entertaining but easy fluid manner.

This list is in alphabetical order from an English POV as I suffer a language deficit –
Philip Adams; Charles Dickens; Benjamin Disraeli; Amanda Gorman; Hermann Hesse; Jules and Punam, WP; Martin Luther King; Tim Minchin; George Orwell; Rumi; Mark Twain

This is an additional list of possible contenders but admit that I have not yet read their work …
Margaret Atwood; Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Zara Hurston; Helen McDonald; Terry Pratchett; Erich Maria Remarque


What say you?



  1. I believe that a wordsmith great or otherwise would have no concern as to topic or subject or storyline? They are like water . Adapted to its atmosphere. Saying 1 thing a thousand different ways. You ever been in the presence of a very powerful person who says it all with the least amount of words but it captivates ? I hear what you say buy have a little deeper view of what wordsmith means. But of course that’s what makes everything so controversial, opinion. But I love the way you incorporate the word “faucet”peace✌🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • really appreciate you sharing your views Mikey! Yes they can address any topic and say it well with less words and say it in many ways in the hope that we may eventually understand!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading this kate and honestly learned something. I would love to have a list too, but I’d like to call it “my favorites”..
    I believe I am not in the position to bestow such an honor to anyone..i leave it to the expererts..
    In terms of someone who can truly articulate their POV, I’ll have you in my list as I always say this and I’ll say it again, you have the gift of writing an ordinary, theme poetic and creative making it more interesting. Yes, Punam too is my favorite as she is excellent in her choice of words, Gina, Carolyn, Val, Ivor, Sadje -they are the ones who make me smile instantly with their written thoughts..(i should probably write a

    Liked by 1 person

    • it would be great if you could then link it back here and I’ll link this one … plan to update mine with the names mentioned in the comments!

      We all have different gifts and most of us are without doubt good wordsmiths … but great is another dimension again Mich 🙂

      You’ve made a list of good kind hearts … all those you mention are kind and generous people who touch our emotions! Maybe rousing an emotional response = great 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some who have influenced me positively have already been named.
    My list would be very l-o-n-g…great wordsmiths who are/or have been authors, playwrights, speakers, lyricists, poets, novelists, etc. 🙂
    Alice Walker and James Baldwin are two I am grateful for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent thoughts. George Will is a columnist at the Washington Post. Most of his columns are politics, but he will venture to other topics. He’s an excellent writer and an unquestionable wordsmith in my eyes. On the downside, he also has an extraordinary vocabulary that he likes to flaunt. Because he makes readers either guess or use a dictionary, some would say that he’s not a wordsmith. After all, writers should write to their audience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • you caught the essence of what I meant when I said they use ‘flashy’ words .. that’s ego showing off and that loses my vote 🙂 Has to be relatable or it’s just another distraction …

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d nominate Mark Twain to the list – for his ability to use humor to get past our usual defenses and make us think. Some of my favorite Mark Twain quotes, “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter,” or “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love Warriors is what came to mind for how I relate to your description of Wordsmith Activists. I see them as honest, pure, passionate, coming from the core of their heart, painting a whole range of emotional landscapes with their words, conveying truths, and creating shifts through their expressions. I will not be able to name anyone as I find myself in awe of the collective talent available at this moment.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Kate, I wasn’t going to mention this because I don’t like to brag, but since you somehow found out that masterminding the defeat of supreme leader Donald the Great wasn’t a full-time job, I’ll admit that in my spare time, I spent hours in autumn gathering fallen walnuts from the walnut tree in my yard so I could put them out for the local squirrels to eat this winter, thereby saving dozens if not gizillions of lives. For this, I was voted the squirreliest guy on my street and awarded the Residential Medal of Hosanna….which is high praise indeed. In addition, my home is now known as the neighborhood nut house.

        I hope that answers your question. If so, you can stop praying, because God probably has other petitions which require his attention, some of which may be almost as pressing as yours!


  7. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, publisher, painter and political activist (countercultural pioneer put on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl) who co-founded the famous City Lights bookshop in San Francisco. He recently passed away.

    One of my favorite home poets and activists for woman of color you can find her work and bio here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Benjamin Disraeli comes to mind – My mother has a book of political cartoons that also contained transcripts of speeches. I think he was one of the great wordsmiths as he was able to persuade others on points of policy, societal responsibility, and molded Great Britain into a powerhouse… As for other wordsmiths in literature I’d have to include George Orwell and Edna Ferber.


  9. For me the ultimate wordsmith is Terry Pratchett. He uses language masterfully, switching registers, tones, using dialects, inventing idiolects, playing with genres doing it with humour and wit while challenging traditions, concepts, and occasionally putting logic on its head.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I read a variety of authors and poets. I am not openly political and I make no claims to favorites. I like to read humor, mystery, and even non-fiction. But as I do not feel qualified to judge others I cannot make such a list.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. An interesting post. I think that many great authors have made compelling and enduring contributions to the ideas and thought processes of people. Charles Dickens exposed the immense social inequality in Britain during the Victorian era, Erich Maria Remarque exposed the great cost of war to both human life and the mental health of soldiers for the rest of their lives, and George Orwell exposed the fact that all political regimes are, in fact, aiming at improving the lot of certain individuals and nothing ever changes for the bulk of the working classes.

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