This conundrum is my little sister's favourite, and she always finds excruciating and unanswerable trios, despite my refusal to engage in these games.
However, my teacher friend James has been confronted with a very similar choice. Without being given time to do any research, he's got to choose one of these poets to teach next year. Which one would you choose, and which one should he run a mile from?
Robert Browning (sadly, not Elizabeth)
W B Yeats
Shame that they're all several generations old. I like R Browning (especially 'My Last Duchess'), but prefer Elizabeth. Yeats - despite supposedly being my national poet - I find almost unreadable these days. Too much dubious reactionary mysticism, too much strained phrase-making. Thomas is OK, though I've had my fill of poets tackling the vexed question of Welsh-English identity and of war. Dickinson I used to avoid but read more and more these days. I think she's very much a Marmite poet, though I could see her going down very well with the Goth girls in class.