Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Juana was a voracious reader in her early childhood, hiding in the hacienda chapel to read her grandfather's books from the adjoining library. She composed her first poem when she was eight years old.
In the 1880s, Mallarmé was at the center of a group of French writers including Andre Gide, Paul Valéry and Marcel Proust that he referred to as "The Decadents."
Merton published nearly 50 books in his lifetime. Inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins' conversion to Catholicism and the priesthood, Merton was baptized in 1938, and began studying the catechism of the Catholic church.
Now considered the "Father of English literature," Chaucer held several positions early in his life, serving as a noblewoman's page, a courtier, a diplomat, a civil servant, and a collector of scrap metal.
A celebrity throughout Europe, Petrarch travelled widely for pleasure and is sometimes called "the first tourist." Known for his work reviving interest in classical literature, Petrarch is also considered the "father of Humanism."
In a New York Times feature article about the poet, her work is described as "hard-edged yet sinuous, rich with feeling yet unsentimental." She recently passed away on December 25, 2009.