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The Ford Fabergé, by Marianne Moore

By Harriet Staff

Wow. Thanks to Lists of Note, we’ve got Marianne Moore’s delightful list of names for Ford Motors’ 1955 series of cars. Mr. Robert Young from the company wrote to Moore and asked for her help:

We should like this name to be more than a label. Specifically, we should like it to have a compelling quality in itself and by itself. To convey, through association or other conjuration, some visceral feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features and design. A name, in short, that flashes a dramatically desirable picture in people’s minds.
Moore agreed, and over the coming weeks, beginning October 27th, she sent to Ford a number of lists of delightful names, all of which I’ve compiled in a single list…ordered chronologically. Her final suggestion, sent to Young on December 8th, was the amazing, “Utopian Turtletop.”

Incredibly, Ford ignored all of Moore’s ideas and instead named their new car, “Edsel.” It flopped.

We don’t want to give them all away—so read on here—but a few of the poet’s ideas:

Hurricane Accipter (hawk)
The Impeccable
Symmechromatic
Thunderblender
The Resilient Bullet
Intelligent Bullet
Bullet Cloisoné
Bullet Lavolta
The Intelligent Whale
The Ford Fabergé (That there is also a perfume Fabergé seems to me to do no harm, for here allusion is to the original silversmith)
The Arc-en-Ciel (the rainbow)
Arcenciel
Mongoose Civique
Anticipator
Regna Racer (couronne a couronne) sovereign to sovereign
Aeroterre
Fée Rapide (Aerofee, Aero Faire, Fee Aiglette, Magi-faire) Comme Il Faire

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, February 10th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.