Poetic Baby Names: Lyrical choices for National Poetry Month

Since April is National Poetry Month, this seems like a perfect time to revisit 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), not to mention a growing profusion of Emersons.

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:

ANGELOU
AUDEN
BARAKA
BLAKE
BLY
BOGAN
BRONTE


BYRON
CAMPBELL
CAREW
CHAUCER
CORSO
CRANE
DANTE
DICKINSON
ELIOT
EMERSON
FLETCHER
FROST
HARDY
HERRICK
JARRELL
KEATS
KENYON
KIPLING
LANDOR
LARKIN
LORCA
LOWELL
MACAULAY
MARLOWE
MARVELL
MERRILL
MERWIN
MILLAY
MILTON
MISTRAL
MORLEY
MORRISON
NERUDA
OLIVER
OWEN
PAZ
POE
QUARLES
RILEY
RUMI
RUSKIN
SHELLEY
SPENSER
TENNYSON
THOREAU
VAUGHAN
VERLAINE
WHITMAN
WHITTIER
WYATT
YEATS

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:

ALTHEA
AMARANTHA
AMINTA
ANTHEA
AUDRIA
CELIA
CLORINDA
CORINNA
CHLOE
CHLORIS
DELIA
DORINDA
FAWNIA
FLORA
GRATIANA
ISABELL
JULIA
LAURA
LUCASTA
PERILLA
PHILOMELA
PHILLIDA
PHILLIS
PHOEBE
ROSALIND
ROSALINE
SABRINA
SAMELA
SILVIA
VEVINA

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
BEATRICEDante’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:

BALLAD
BARD/BAIRD
CADENCE
CANZONE
HAIKU
LYRIC
MUSE
OTTAVA
POEM
POESY
POET
POETICA
QUATRAIN
SESTINA
SONNET
VILLANELLE

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9 Responses to “Poetic Baby Names: Lyrical choices for National Poetry Month”

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bbkettle Says:

April 26th, 2010 at 1:12 am

Love this list. But what about Teague?

JLS123 Says:

April 26th, 2010 at 8:04 am

Beautiful names some favorites of mine are Bly, Larkin, Paz, Delia, Evangeline, Thalia, Poem, Sonnet. What about Langston or Hughes?

www.legitbabenames.wordpress.com Says:

April 26th, 2010 at 8:19 am

Great list. Gratiana is really lovely! There is also the Albanian Poema and the Estonian Luule (meaning poetry).

monte & hannah’s mom Says:

April 26th, 2010 at 9:09 am

Don’t forget Sir Philip Sidney’s Stella from Astrophel and Stella. At last that college Renaissance Poetry class has proved useful!

Rose Says:

April 26th, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I LOVE the name Calliope. Have for a while now. I’m not sure why, but I really like the nickname Callie, despite the fact that it’s not particularly interesting or original. Also really like Celia, Eulalie, Brigid, and Ariel, to name just a few of the ones that popped out at me.

Would Fawnia be pronounced like Fainne? I like Fainne better.

Sachiko Says:

April 27th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Shiori means “poem weaver” in Japanese.

Livi Says:

August 27th, 2010 at 8:08 am

I love a lot of the names on this list! Another poetic name that would be perfect for this list is Hiawatha. There are actually 2 Hiawathas in my family; one male and one female.

Karen Says:

December 8th, 2010 at 3:35 am

Caedmon (m), Sarasvati (f)

Kathy Says:

July 25th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I have two daughters that were named after Edgar Allan Poe Poems: Annabelle Leigh (spelled differently) and Ava Lenore.

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