Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lusting After Names

Your name is better than mine: more memorable, more unique, more mellifluous.

This bothers me.

My name has been a passing concern of mine for quite some time. If you haven't noticed, I have a very boring, very Anglo-Saxon-y white guy name. Nothing against Anglo-Saxons and white guys, I happen to be happy inhabiting both of those roles, but when I see a poet name like Baron Wormser--I feel an intense jealousy. Sure, I've coveted other names: Hadley Higginson, W.D. Snodgrass, Major Jackson; but something about Baron Wormser is different. It's good to the point where I suspect foul play. Did his mother know he would write gorgeous poems about working in the woods? Did he stealthily change his name from something boring like Ron Smith? Is he a real person at all or just a name sitting on a mountain-top laughing and pointing at our inferior names?

It makes me wonder: have you ever read a poem (I'm thinking in a journal rather than a whole collection) simply because of the poet's name? I know I have--though usually it's the poem title that will draw more hits. I actually thought about going by Luke T. Johnson for awhile, that is, until I saw I'd been beaten to the punch. But enough harping, I've learned to accept my inferior name. On the plus side, it is very rarely mispronounced.

Am I alone in this? Any other names folks out there lust after?


This headline made me laugh.


Killer first line of the moment:

"Rabinowitz tries to crawl"

from Baron Wormser's "Calendar (1956)"
(Scattered Chapters, Sarabande Books, 2008)


I've always been a Levi's guy, but now I know why. I'm digging the new commercial, complete with Walt Whitman's scratchy scratchy voice.


sh Lohmann said...

This is my plight as well, very shallowly pacified by the mature and boring decision to write by my initials.. androgynous, simple, and if D.H. and R.W.H. were satisfied with this solution, I can be too.

Also, at Pablo Neruda´s house yesterday the guide informed us somewhat bitterly that his real name was NeftalĂ­ Ricardo Reyes Basoalto,¨A real Chilean name.¨ Apparently Pablo Neruda is like Bob Smith.

C. Dale said...

Is the Luke short for Lucas? What is the T stand for? I say you make up the T and become Lucas Tiberius Johnson.

Luke said...


It's actually just Luke (Gospel-style), but I figure if I'm making up Tiberius then I might as well take it all the way.

Maybe I should just go by Bob Neruda...