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August 23, 2007

Teh Awesome! Marianne Moore and Edsel

I did not know this. Did you know this? The Ford Company invited poet Marianne Moore to contribute names for the car that was eventually named the Edsel. I found it on Wikipedia, and really hope it's true:

David Wallace, Manager of Marketing Research, and coworker Bob Young unofficially invited poet Marianne Moore for input and suggestions. Wallace's rationale was, "who better to understand the nature of words than a poet."

Moore, a loyal Ford owner, submitted numerous lists, which included "Silver Sword," "Thundercrest" (and "Thundercrester"), "Resilient Bullet," "Intelligent Whale," "Pastelogram," "Andante con Moto," "Varsity Stroke," and "Mongoose Civique." (One name she suggested, "Chaparral," later, coincidentally, was used for a racing car.) Against the strong objection from her brother, Moore also submitted the name TURCOTINGA, which was a play on the Cotinga (a South American bird) and the color turquoise. However, she noted in her letter to Wallace that it was simply a suggestion, and that if she wanted to go in direction of nature, she had several volumes of works that she could review. In a letter dated December 8, 1955, Moore wrote the following:

Mr. Young,
May I submit UTOPIAN TURTLETOP? Do not trouble to answer unless you like it. Marianne Moore

All these outside ideas were rejected, although Miss Moore received two dozen roses and a thank you note affectionately addressed to the Top Turtletop, which Moore found amusing. In her reply to Young, she regretted that she could not have been more help, and noted that she was looking forward to trying out the vehicle when it was introduced.



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dearest seelight, i did know this. i think barbara anderson might have told this story back in college (or was it tenney nathanson?), but it heard it a bunch of times at iowa, too. i think it's detailed in one of the older moore bios?

but yes, it's a great story. and to the best of my knowledge, it's true.

and speaking of anglo-american modernists, did you hear about what happened when wallace stevens met ernest hemmingway in key west? that's kind of a great story, too, but in the opposite way in which the moore-ford story is great.

no, do tell!

(you should know, the only creative writing prof i ever listened to was jane miller, and that was b/c she never told us anything. by the way, i just looked them up here: http://english.arizona.edu/index_site.php?id=370. the gang's STILL all there, 15 years later! miller, poverman, penner, rickel, orlen, all the creative writing faculty is still all white.)

Totally true...I am an Edsel fan and it was reported in a book written by the PR manager for Edsel, who was around at the time to know.

well, they also have luci tapahanso, filling in for joy harjo, i s'pose. but yeah, other than that, it's all anglos all the time.

but anywhoo, here's the story about stevens and hemmingway. both those old white guys liked the drinkie, and they both liked to vacay in key west in the 40s & 50s. so, this one time, they both happened to be down there at the same time, and they bumped into each other at a bar where they were getting real drunk. so hemmingway turns to stevens, and says something to the effect of, "the trouble with your poems is that they're unintelligible." and stevens says something back, and then hemmingway tries to deck stevens, who roundhouses hemmingway and knocks him out cold. with ernie down and wally up, the drinking continues. end of story.

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