May 3, 2009

Poets Ranked by Beard Weight

Click the image below to see the post on 50 Watts:













10/6/11 update: Now (back) in book form thanks to Skyhorse Publishing!


Buy it on Amazon if you have one of the following beard types: Box, Claus-esque, Dutch Elongated, Full Velutinous, Garibaldi Elongated, Hibernator, Italian False Goatee, Maltese, Mock Forked Elongated, Queen's Brigade, Spade, Spatulate Imperial, Van Dyke, Van Winkle, Wandering Jim...

43 comments:

  1. Brilliant classification. I, too, hope to command authority through the length of my beard one day! Alas I need to wait a couple of decades still.

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  2. Fantastic post! I am somewhat shocked that Rossetti and Thoreau out-bearded Whitman (come on, Rossetti's hardly even counts as a beard!!). On the other hand, I am delighted to learn there is a style of beard known as "Wandering Jim". . .

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  3. Wonderful.

    Some lesser-known UK beard wearing artists, poets and writers can be found here: http://beardism.weebly.com/

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  4. absolutely wonderful! thank you!

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  5. Most Delightful! Thankyou! I too am surprised Whitman's beard did not score higher.

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  6. I must say that I'm more than a little upset at Whitman's beard score. C'mon people, Leaves of Grass?

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  7. hmmm...I always thought Coca Cola invented our modern image of Claus in the early 1930s...you're saying this pamphlet dated 1913 referred to a beard as Claus-esque?

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  8. Thanks for all of your comments.

    I asked Gilbert Alter-Gilbert to address some of your concerns:

    "Readers disappointed by Mr. Whitman's low beard score should remember that Underwood assigned his ratings according to his measurements of the odylic force present in a given beard, and not to any literary distinction associated with its wearer, nor even to the superficial visual impact of same. Readers should bear in mind, also, the well-established connection between the effects of the odylic force and mesmerism or hypnosis."

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  9. Readers should bear in mind, also, the well-established connection between the effects of the odylic force and mesmerism or hypnosis."

    Which might explain why Rossetti has such bizarre eyes in his portrait. I fully expect that representation to inspire night terrors.

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  10. Lovely article, and beautiful photos to boot.

    Got me thinking about a famous (nobel prize winning) poet from India - Rabindranath Tagore.

    Here's a photo:
    http://chandrakantha.com/articles/tawaif/images/tagore.jpg

    The beard is sligtly unkempt, but very white. Eccentricity and wisdom.

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  11. I should've thought that Truman Copote, a clean-shaven gentleman, would have outbearded them all!

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  12. This is a sparkling essay, yet frankly I am dissapointed that the erudite Mr. Alter-Gilbert, presumably in favor of Underwood's many literary contributions, neglects mention of the most notable Underwoodian contribution to Social Science; namely, to the field of Criminology. The fact is that, had it not been for Underwood, many of history's worst criminals might never have been brought to justice, while still many others today indisputably would remain at large.

    With many others, I would maintain that the most critical aspect of Underwood's contribution to Pognology was its very timing. Had it not been for Underwood, those working in Criminal Science could not have become what they are today.

    Remember that by the time of the First World War, leading criminologists still were struggling to rectify the science of Phrenology with the emerging French science of Halitusometry (by which criminal intent may be discerned in the exhalations of an individual.)

    At a time when the world's leading criminologists struggled in vain to unify Haitusometry with Phrenology, it was Underwood who provided the missing key: for it was the Underwood Index that permitted crime fighters both to rectify and ultimately to unify these seemingly incongruent methods of detection so that, at last, crime scientists were able to construct a multivariate predictive analysis of an individual suspect's inclination toward infraction.

    At last it became possible to combine a trained detective's observations of a suspect's cranial prominence and protuberance with observations of the suspect's expiration so that, in checking these findings against the suspect's beard weight as measured by the Underwood Index, an arrest could be made that would be upheld in any just and right-thinking court of law. It is for these reasons, and merely for the literary ones, that to this day in New Scotland Yard one finds the Underwood Library of Crimonologic Science.

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  13. Well, I'm sorry, but Whitman's is best beard by a mile -and anyone who doesn't accept that is follically-challenged.

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  14. I'm surprised no one has yet noticed that there are, in fact, two images of James Russell Lowell, and none of John Greenleaf Whittier! In other words, the person named as Whittier here is actually Lowell. The two poets had very, very different facial hair styles.

    Of course, as a beard enthusiast myself, this is a great bit of info!

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  15. Good catch Rob. Mr. Alter-Gilbert pointed out my lax image work here, but we left it alone. Here's one!

    I think we all agree about Whitman, but you can't argue with science.

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  16. And for that matter, what of Tolstoy?

    This is becoming an outrage!

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  17. I've always felt, likewise, that Ginsberg's best years were his more hirsute ones. This scientific approach, then, carries a very real predictive power.

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  18. This is an excellent post, and wonderful information for those of us in the active pursuit of the ancient art of pogonomancy.

    I was saddened to see that the impressive beard of William Thudworth St.John-Smith, Poet of Spidgy, did not make the cut.

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  19. Inexplicable in fact, I should say, to The Squire.

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  20. Remember this is only an abridged version. Spidgy-on-the-Thames was indeed included and tied John Burroughs with a UPI rating of 43.

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  21. 43, really? I should have rated them at nothing short of 44.

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  22. This is fantastic. Thank you!

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  23. i'm more intersted in chesthair quality and square yardage, and pattern. oh, and legs, back, shoulders, etc.

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  24. Are there any bearded living poets? None spring immediately to my mind...

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  25. None spring to mind for me either, though I'm terrible about following new poetry. The recently deceased Hayden Carruth might rank high.

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  26. RE living poet, beard, see:

    http://www.pw.org/files/photos/0411_gannon.jpg

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  27. We're missing out on Alexander Anderson. =[

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  28. Here's the link to that famous Anderson pic: http://gerald-massey.org.uk/anderson/images/alexander_anderson_surfaceman.jpg

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  29. psychicgadgets@yahoo.comAugust 3, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    Whither the bearded ladies?

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  30. Superb. My mother always told me "Never trust a man with a beard". Now I see there is so much more too it. Of course she did marry one!

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  31. Ah, WC Bryant was robbed...


    most excellent post

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  32. Excellent post! For a great contemporary bearded poet, how about 2009 National Book Award winner Keith Waldrop?

    http://www.projo.com/photos/20091115/AR1115_waldrop_11-15-09_BRGDN1R.jpg

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  33. Sidney Lanier = a relation of John Lennon's?

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  34. All of Morse's medals must have thrown off the delicately calibrated equipment, what with the magnetic fields and the odylic forces and the wattages and the static voltages and all that.

    I demand a re-measure!

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  35. Brilliant post. Beautiful beards.

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  36. Thank you for this--the information contained in this essay has fueled many a beer night discussion around our house, and we continually refer back to it to check its contents! Thanks!

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  37. You should have the earlier Thoreau bearded image such as here:
    http://www.americaslibrary.gov/assets/jb/nation/jb_nation_thoreau_1_e.jpg

    The neck beard was a later iteration of a much fuller, more easily weighed beard.

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