Was Robert Lowell the best poet of his generation? I tried, under the influence of Randall Jarrell's criticism, to admire Lowell's work, but didn't quite succeed. Taking that generation to be those who were fencible in WW II, and ranking on lines remembered, my own list runs something like Wilbur, Jarrell, Oppen, Shapiro, Lowell.
I'm afraid I'm with you George. Just not a huge admirer of Lowell's verse. I guess my favorites among that generation would include Kenneth Patchen and Denise Levertov.
I'll go with Hecht, Wilbur, Levertov and Justice. In fact, I've been making my way through Levertov's Collected for the past few months and am greatly impressed by the evolution of her style.
Wilbur, Auden, and Stevens for me. Wilbur's Praise in Summer is eternal.
I think of Auden and Stevens as being of an earlier generation, but I love their work. I also like Robinson Jeffers.