Poetic Baby Names
Since April is National Poetry Month, this seems like a perfect time to look at some of the most poetic of baby names. We’ve already seen starbabies named Poet (Soleil Moon Frye), Sonnet (Forest Whitaker), Auden (Noah Wyle), Tennyson (Russell Crowe), and of course any number of Dylans (traceable back to poet Thomas). By some quirk of fate — or maybe it’s prophecy fulfillment — poets in general seem to have more poetic surnames than prose writers do. Here are some poet-name possibilities:
Another group of poetically romantic names consists of the idealized Greek, Latinate, and other names used by the early English pastoral poets, in verse dedicated to their “coy mistresses” and such:
And then there are the names connected to poetry via goddesses, muses, and other poetic associations–here are just a few of the almost endless possibilities:
ARIEL— The name of Sylvia Plath’s most famous group of poems
BEATRICE — Dante‘s muse in The Divine Comedy
BRIANA –one of many symbolic names in Spenser‘s The Faerie Queen
BRIGID — Celtic goddess of poetry and song
CALLIOPE — The Greek muse of epic poetry
CERIDWEN — Legendary Welsh enchantress said to possess the cauldron of poetic inspiration
CLARINDA — Invented by Edmund Spenser and used by Robert Burns in Verses to Clarinda
DEVIN — Gaelic name meaning musical poet
ELAINE and ENID –Revived by Tennyson in Idylls of the King
ERATO –The Greek muse of love poetry
EULALIE — Subject of a Poe poem
EVANGELINE — Popularized via the Longfellow poem
FIAMMETTA — From Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso
IANTHE — Appears in the poetry of Byron and Shelley; the latter used it for his daughter
LEILA — Arabic name popularized in the works of Byron
LENORE — An Edgar Allan Poe favorite
MALVINA — invented by the Scottish poet James Macpherson
PAMELA — invented by pastoral poet Sir Philip Sidney
THALIA — Greek muse of idyllic poetry
UNA — Symbolic name used in Spenser‘s The Faerie Queen
VANESSA — Created by Jonathan Swift for his autobiographical poem Cadenus and Vanessa
ZULEIKA — Heroine of one of Byron‘s narrative poems
And finally there are the word names that cut straight to the chase:
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Emmy Jo Said
on April 15th, 2009 at 1:42 am
Literature nut that I am, I love these names.
My favorites would have to be what you’ve termed the “coy mistress” names — they’re so romantic. Special loves among those are Corinna, Lucasta, Julia, Althea, Celia, and Phillida.
Of the muse/goddess names, Thalia and Ceridwen are delightful.
Of the poet names, my favorite is probably Marlowe — and, oh, if I could only get away with Chaucer! Keats and Yeats would be intriguing middle name ideas. I’ll have to remember to suggest those to people looking for uncommon one-syllable choices.
And of the word names, I love the sound of Sonnet and Poesy, but they’re middle-name-only in my book.
on April 15th, 2009 at 6:35 pm
My husband is Stan. We always joked we could combine our names and name our daughter STANZA!
on December 3rd, 2009 at 6:04 am
Don’t forget BANJO! Esteemed Australian poet – and a super cute name.
on April 20th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
I’m surprised Millay made the list but not Vincent. Edna St. Vincent Millay preferred to be called Vincent, and as long as it isn’t abbreviated, I think it’s charming.
on October 4th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
I think Poesy can stand on it’s own, if Rosie and Josie can. I like it much better than the full Josephine. It is much more unique than the standard spelling of Posey. Tough though to decide what middle name to use with it. And I like that it uses Poe for Edgar Allen. The only bad nickname I come up with is Poesy Poser.
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