Whether you’re a writer, were a literature major in college, or just love reading, why not consider baby names inspired by poets for your
soon-to-be wordsmith? After all, deciding on a baby name can be completely overwhelming. Do you want a unique baby name or a classic baby name? Would you like something with family history or something that’s brand new for your brand new child? So it can be nice to have a category like poet baby names to help you narrow things down. But don’t worry, from Ancient Greece to 21st century post-Modernists, there’s plenty of poets out there to inspire you.
Of course, it would be irresponsible
not to include verse in a post about baby names inspired by poets, so, without further ado... When struggling with your darling mate to find, A name to give your brand new little child, Because you just cannot make up your mind, And honestly: new trendy names are wild. Why not then, friend, turn now to poetray? From Sappho, Wordsworth, William Butler Yeats, To narrow down your choices in this way, Will help avoid some names your partner hates. A poet name could maybe be the thing To help you find the perfect baby name Unique and fun, they have just the right ring To fin’ly end this dreadful little game. And so please take a tiny little peek: You just might find the perfect name you seek. 1 William English via German: “determined protector”
When it comes to poets, they don’t get more famous, beloved, or remarkable than the Bard himself,
William Shakespeare. In addition to about 38 plays, Shakespeare penned 154 sonnets as well as long-form poems and a few other pieces. 2 Emily Latin; “rival”
Emily Dickinson is among the most revered American poets of all time. Though regarded as a recluse and an eccentric in her own time, her poetry soars and swells with spiritualism and great passion, making Emily a thoroughly lovely poet-inspired baby name.
3 Dante Italian; “steadfast, enduring, everlasting”
Dante Alighieri is best known for writing the narrative poem
The Divine Comedy. Written between 1308 and 1321, the meditation on life after death was considered a work of genius and even helped established the Italian language as we know it today. 4 Sylvia Latin; “spirit of the woods”
Sylvia Plath is praised as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and is one of the few artists to win a posthumous Pulitzer. She is known for her confessional poetry.
5 Langston English; place name, “long stone”
One of the preeminent figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes is known for his innovations in jazz poetry and wrote compellingly on subjects of Black working class struggles and joy. This poet-inspired baby name is a unique and lovely choice.
6 Dylan Welsh; “born of the sea, son of the sea”
Considered one of the greatest Welsh poets of all time, Dylan Thomas wrote with evocative lyricism and is best known for his villanelle “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” Dylan is also a poet-inspired baby name that’s gender-neutral.
7 Sappho Cavan Images / Alex S/Cavan/Getty Images Greek; “sapphire”
Sappho was so admired she was referred to as “The Tenth Muse” or simply “The Poetess” in
Ancient Greece. Her lyric poetry would have been accompanied by music, so she was kind of like the Taylor Swift of her day. 8 Pablo Spanish; “small, humble”
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda defied falling into one category. His poems run the gamut from surrealist to political, historic to romantic. He won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, and Pablo is such a sweet, artistic baby name to pay tribute to him.
9 Walt German; “commander of the army”
Walt Whitman remains one of the most beloved and colorful figures in American poetry, melding transcendentalism and realism in a style that is bold, full of emotion, and timeless, even as it broaches now-historical events. The nickname-style of Walt is also a spunky baby name on its own.
10 Louise French; “renowned warrior”
Louise Glück might not be a household name, but she is considered to be one of the most influential and important poets working today. In 2020 she won a Nobel Prize in Literature. Technically precise, her work explores heartbreak, melancholy, and family relationships.
11 Edgar German; “wealthy spear”
Edgar Allen Poe was a master of the macabre. His work is considered to be the peak of American Gothic literature. If you love a
goth baby name, Edgar is the perfect option for you, but it’s also a great baby name choice for those who love an “old man” or vintage name. Also, when’s the last time you met an Edgar? 12 Maya Greek; “good mother” | Sanskrit; “illusion” | Hebrew; “water” | Māori; “courage”
Maya Angelou was
everything, but she is best known for her poetry. Her poems explore pain, joy, womanhood, and Blackness. Maya has become a popular name over the last few years, but it holds so much meaning. 13 Phillis Greek; “greenery, foliage”
Phillis Wheatley is known as the first African-American to publish a book of poetry. Wheatley wrote primarily on Christianity and was influenced both by Classical literature and the worship of the sun as a metaphor for Christ and a nod to some traditional African traditions. Phillis is such a great, unique baby name choice.
14 Byron English; “place by the cowsheds”
The bad boy of Romantic era, George Gordon Byron, aka Lord Byron, is as close to a rock star as you could get in 19th century England. From narrative poems to shorter lyrical poetry, Byron’s talent was rivaled only by his (understandable) vanity.
15 Milton English; “mill town” Paradise Lost by John Milton is one of the great works of poetry written in English, telling the story of the fall of Satan from Heaven and the fall of humans from God’s grace in the Garden of Eden. Milton was also a revolutionary in support of Parliamentary government and wrote plays and other poems. Plus, Milton just sounds so cool and unique. 16 Gwendolyn Welsh; “blessed ring”
Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize. Her poetry ranges from sonnets to blues-inspired free verse, drawing from her community and life. The baby name Gwendolyn really packs a punch, too, and has some darling nicknames.
17 Ezra Hebrew; “helper”
Not going to lie: Ezra Pound was a terrible, terrible person. Like... truly terrible. Nevertheless, he is a giant of modernist poetry and has a pretty cool name.
18 Audre German; “noble strength”
Audre Lorde described herself as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” We could also add in there, revolutionary philosopher and overall badass. Her poetry, like all her work, seeks to explore and dismantle racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.
19 Virgil Latin; “flourishing”
Considered one of the greatest poets of Ancient Rome, Virgil is perhaps best known for writing the
Aenied. It’s definitely a baby name that feels old and more traditional than vintage, but it’s a strong choice for your little one. 20 Anne English via French; “grace” Anne Sexton is known for her deeply personal, confessional style of poetry, which earned her a Pulitzer Prize in 1967. Plus how classic of a baby name is Anne? 21 Anaïs Kateryna Zasukhina/Moment/Getty Images Provencal & Catalan; “grace”
Though better known for her diaries and erotic stories, Anaïs Nin also wrote avant-garde poems. Though, truthfully, all of her writing has a somewhat poetic flair to it. This is such a fun baby name choice, and she’ll probably be the only Anaïs in her class.
22 Emerson Anglo-Saxon; “son of Emery”
Ralph Waldo Emerson is perhaps less well known for his poetry as for his essays on nature and Transcendentalism, but a poet he was, penning well-regarded works such as “Brahma” and “Boston Hymn” among many others. Emerson is also a really fun gender-neutral baby name.
23 Thomas Aramaic; “twin”
Thomas Hardy was a highly influential English poet in the Realist tradition (though he was inspired by the Romantics), who advocated for rural Britons and was inspired by folk music and traditional ballads.
24 Marlowe English; “remnants of a lake”
Christopher Marlowe was a playwright and poet and a contemporary of William Shakespeare. Revered in his time, his work is eloquent and evocative. And Marlowe is just so good. Perfect for a boy or girl, and Lowe is kind of a cute nickname.
25 Spenser English; “steward, administrator”
Edmund Spenser is best known for the epic poem “The Faerie Queene,” a whimsical celebration of Queen Elizabeth I. You definitely won’t have a bunch of Spensers in your kid’s preschool class (but you might have to spell their name for everyone).
26 Aphra Hebrew; “dust”
A fascinating figure from the Restoration era, Aphra Behn is one of the first women in England to earn a living as a writer (and, for a time, a spy for Charles II). She wrote plays, prose, and translations in addition to poems.
27 Robert Old German; “bright fame”
Whether we’re talking about Robert Burns, Robert Browning, Robert Frost, you can’t go wrong. It seems that Robert is just one of those poet names, and it’s so classic.
28 Elizabeth Hebrew; “God’s promise”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a poet and activist. She was a prolific writer and, through her work, advocated for the abolition of slavery and child labor. Elizabeth is a super traditional baby name, but it offers so many fun nicknames like Eliza, Liz, Bets, Izzy, Beth, etc.
29 Tennyson Middle English; “son of Dennis”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was poet laureate under Queen Victoria and is known for his sentimentality and evocative imagery. The idea of naming a baby Tennyson is steeped in history and royalty.
30 Dorothy Greek; “gift of God”
Witty and observant, Dorothy Parker was a critic, satirist, screenwriter, and poet and a delightful person to name a baby after. Dorothy is just such a good poet-inspired baby name, and can have fun nicknames like Dottie.
31 Blake English; “dark haired, pale”
William Blake is considered one of the chief figures of the Romantic movement. His prophetic poems, often accompanied by his own art, continue to inspire artists to this day. And clearly, Blake makes for an incredible gender-neutral poet baby name.
32 Chaucer French; “shoemaker”
Geoffrey Chaucer is the insightful and hilarious poet whose
Canterbury Tales is many a scholar’s first foray into learning Middle English. Imagine how cool a little preschool Chaucer sounds. 33 Eliot Hebrew; “the Lord is my God”
Whether we’re talking about T.S. Eliot or George Eliot, it seems this is just another of those highly poetic baby names. Also a great gender-neutral option.
34 Christina Latin; “follower of Christ”
Despite having a very Italian-sounding name, Christina Rossetti was an English poet known for both children’s poems (like “
Goblin Market”) and the gorgeous Christmas song “In The Bleak Midwinter.” 35 Wyatt d3sign/Moment/Getty Images English; “war strength”
Thomas Wyatt was a well known (sometimes notorious) figure in King Henry’s court. But one of his most lasting accomplishments was introducing the sonnet into English literature. Wyatt is such a fun option for your baby, and can really work for both boys and girls.
We hope among these poet-inspired names you see/ The perfect one for your baby.