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Poetic Baby Names: 60+ Charming Choices

Marlowe, Marvell and Myles

by Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s that time of the year when we celebrate April as National Poetry Month.  I’m always pleasantly surprised by how many of the great poets’ surnames happen to make perfect, poetic baby names.This year, rather than pick out a limited number of the most appealing, I’m offering a broad array of 60 surname names that could definitely provide poetic inspiration.

Mostly writing in English, they span the centuries, from 16th century Chaucer to contemporary April Bernard—I’ve included their birthdates for context. Some of them , say Keats and Kipling, broadcast the source of their inspiration, while others are more secret and subtle, like Blake and Brooks.

So here, in alphabetical order, are 60+ poets’ poetic baby names.

ALCOTT, Louisa May, b 1832

ANGELOU, Maya, b. 1928

ARNOLD, Matthew, b.1822

AUDEN, W. H., b. 1907

AUSTIN, Alfred, b. 1835

BERNARD, April, b. 1956

BERRY, Wendell, b.1934

BISHOP, Elizabeth, b. 1911

BLAKE, William, b.1757

BLY, Robert, b. 1926

BRAUTIGAN, Richard, b. 1935

BRONTE, EMILY, B. 1818 and Charlotte, born1816

BROOKE, Rupert, b. 1887

BROOKS, Gwendolyn, b. 1917

BYRON, Lord George Gordon, b. 1788

CHAUCER, Geoffrey, b. 1343

CRANE, Hart, b. 1899

CULLEN, Countee, b. 1903

DICKINSON, Emily, b.1830

DOVE, Rita, b. 1952

DRYDEN, John, b. 1668

DUFFY, Carol Ann, b. 1955

ELIOT, Thomas Stearns, b. 1888

EMERSON, Ralph Waldo, b.1803

FROST, Robert, b.1874

GIOVANNI, Nikki (b. Yolanda Cornelis), b. 1943

GRAY, Thomas, b. 1716

HARDY, Thomas, b. 1840

HERBERT, George, b. 1593

HUGHES, Langston, b. 1901, Ted, b. 1930

HUGO, Victor, b.1802

JORDAN, June, b. 1936

KEATS, John, b. 1795

KIPLING, Rudyard, b. 1865

LARKIN, Philip, b. 1922

LORCA, Federico Garcia, b.1898

LOWELL, Robert, b. 1917

MARLOWE, Christopher, b. 1564

MARVELL, Andrew, b. 1621

MERWIN, W.S., b. 1927

MILLAY, Edna St. Vincent, b. 1892

MILTON, John, b. 1608

MORRIS, William, b. 1834

MYLES, Eileen, b. 1949

NASH, Ogden, b. 1902

NERUDA, Pablo, b. 1904

OLIVER, Mary, b. 1935

OWEN, Rupert, b. 1893

PAZ, Octavio, 1914

POE. Edgar Allan, b. 1809

REESE, Lizette, b. 1856

SCHUYLER, James, b. 1923

SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe, b.1792

TENNYSON, Alfred Lord, b. 1809

THOMAS, Dylan, b. 1914

WALCOTT, Derek, 1930

WALKER, Alice, b. 1944

WARREN, Robert Penn, b. 1905

WHITMAN, Walt, b. 1819

WILBUR, Richard, b.1921

YEATS, William Butler, b. 1865

What’s your favorite poet name?

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5 Responses to “Poetic Baby Names: 60+ Charming Choices”

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tabitha Says:

April 10th, 2019 at 7:22 am

Our group of friends are really into their poets: we know two little Kiplings and an Auden 🙂

mymel0dy Says:

April 10th, 2019 at 3:46 pm

When I was much much younger and in college, studying poetry I dreamed of having sons named Byron, Dryden, Eliot, and Spenser all for poets or writers I had studied.

Kara Says:

April 10th, 2019 at 10:08 pm

I wish Nameberry would quit condoning Kipling, as in Rudyard, as a valid choice. He was white supremacist and imperialist, even for his own time.

calyma Says:

April 11th, 2019 at 12:28 pm

I’m surprised you left off my favorite: HENLEY, William Ernest, b. 1849.

springcrocus Says:

April 11th, 2019 at 3:25 pm

I think this list is missing Mary OLIVER and Margaret ATWOOD

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