Basho: (1644-1694) Matsuo Basho is by far the most famous haiku poet of all time and, as so many poets aspire to, was designated a Shinto god! He aspired to live a life according to a poetic ideal of poverty and a little poetic craziness. He wrote lots of haiku and participated in many renga sessions, and is probably most famous for this frog haiku:
furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto
an old pond,
Buson: (1716-1783) Yosa Buson was both an artist and a haiku poet. His experience in visual art reflects itself in his haiku with sharp observation and vivid images.
Issa: (1763-1827) Kobayashi Issa was a famous haiku poet who had a particular sense of humor and a sensitivity for the small and helpless things of this world: insects, small animals, children, etc.
Shiki: (1867-1902) Masaoka Shiki is the most famous of the more recent haiku poets and is credited with the modern revival of haiku. He particularly stressed imagery and direct experience in writing haiku.