Friday, September 23, 2011

Consultation: help name baby Jasper!

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry
Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.
His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.
His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee's experience
Of clovers and of noon!


P. and D. Jasper are poets, literature lovers, and bee keepers. 

They love the smells of hay and fresh soil, coffee and vanilla, licorice and freshly cut lemons.

They like to read to each other: Emily Dickinson, Dostoyevsky, Nabakov, Virginia Woolf, Jonathon Safran Foer,  Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Wordsworth, amongst others.

They enjoy listening to Joanna Newsom strum her beautiful harp, and share a mutual love of Stereolab, Iron and Wine, and Belle and Sebastian.

(image: joanna newsom, b&S, iron&wine)

They bond over Japanese film and old silent classics, and their most beloved things in life (names included) are cozy, natural, a bit off-beat and oozing with warmth.


P. has written to us in need of help:

 I'm 32 weeks pregnant.  For years before I got pregnant we were certain we would have a girl and that her name would be Hazel Albertine Jasper, which was so lovely and so perfect for us in every way. I love it so much, my heart breaks typing it, but she was not to be, and finding an equally perfect boy's name seems impossible.  
The only name my husband and I agree on is Oscar, but it doesn't work with the last name Jasper.  I like it so much I'm tempted to give him my own last name (sounds like Leville), which D. is OK with, but Jasper is such a good strong name I'd much rather use that. 
I also very much like Felix, but a friend named her baby that recently and I don't think I can steal it.  Finnegan is another possibility, even though I generally prefer old-fashioned names and don't like the last-name-as-first-name trend. (P. is also bothered by it's growing popularity.)
Husband has 4 children already.  siblings: Malcolm, William, Eudora and Albion.  This will be my first and probably my only.  
 His taste is a bit more offbeat than mine:  his ideas are Ignatius (P. isn't as sure of this name, though she does like Iggy, and their friends don't quite take it seriously when they share it.) and Snorri, which was the name of the first European born in North America, in 1004.  (It's adorable for a baby, and we have been using it as a womb name, but I want a name that will serve him well his entire life.) 

Some points first:

--Congratulations! Thank you for writing to me!

--I think Oscar (sounds like) Leville is an amazing name, and I love it when children take the names of their mothers. But it seems important to you to use your husband's surname, Jasper, and there are names as wonderful as Oscar which can work beautifully with  Jasper.

--I think Iggy Jasper is SO DANG FANTASTIC,(one of our favorite children's books features a wonderful, little Iggy!)

but Ignatious is a bold name, and the bolder (or trendier) the name, the more you have to really love it . If you like this name, awesome, if not, you'll feel it.

-- Finnegan Jasper is a sweet name, but I would say that for you to use it, you need to really love it, and be only marginally  bothered by it's popularity, because I think it's going to skyrocket. There will be a lot of little Finns running around, and for good reason; Finn is great name. I'm big on meaning, and I love that it has such a great literary connection for your family. This is truly a matter of weighing your love of a particular name against a larger baby-naming principle. 

-- I'm not against using womb names once the child is born. This said, you clearly don't seem to want the name, Snorri. If it's super important to husband, then how about using it in the middle? I think neither parent should have to call their child by something they're not crazy about.

-- The surname Jasper is tricky. You already stated that you don't like surnames for first names, and I think that's best, because he could end up being the guy with the backwards name. This said, there are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes things just work, so I will add a few to my list.

-- I so admire the girl name you guys selected, Hazel Albertine. You may want to reserve this, because you really never know, but you say this is likely your last, so what about a masculine version of this name?  Hazlitt Albertus, Harlan Augustine, Hubert Aloysius (Hugh), Hugo Ambrose, Howard Aramis or any mix matching of these would hit a similar note.

-- I really like either a one syllable first name, or a three or four syllable first name for you guys, but again, there are alway exceptions, and I'll list some.

My top picks:

Hachi-- Japanese for 'bee', and while they have different kanji, the word also means 'eight'.
I love Hachi Albertus or Hachi Augustine!

Sigmund  (Ziggy or Iggy-- so you can still get to Iggy with something softer than Ignatious?)

Augustine/August/Augustino (Augie Jasper is so dang fine! and there's the Augie March association! I think with five children, it's okay for an initial to repeat, even if closest brother also starts with A.)

Earnest, Ernest, or Ernesto (Ernie) (It just doesn't get any warmer than this.)

Clovis (I love it's warmth, freshness, and the nickname Clove)

George  (I love George Iliad Jasper.)


Sullivan or Sully (I love Sully Jasper!)

Leopold (Leo. Do I even need to go into the virtues of this name?)





Beaumont (Beau or Monty)

Salvador (Sully!)

Orlando (V.Woolf story)





Hazlitt (so you still get that baby Hazel tree! I think Hazy or Haze Jasper is adorable, though I can see why it might not be desirable.  The term gets used for 'confusion' a lot, but I see it as a simple likeness to fog, mist and clouds, which are beautiful.)



More for you to consider:
Arvis or Arvid
Barnaby, Barnabus or Barlow (nn--Barnie or Barn)
Bernard (I think Bernie Jasper is adorable!)
Hubert (love Hubert Jasper.. Hugh?)
Humphrey (I think it works.)
Harlan (Harlan Jasper feels cozy; this is a southern gent.)
Hoke (I had a Philosophy professor with this name. He wore bow ties and had the dreamiest southern accent)
Ido or Igo
Junius (Junius Jasper is snappy. too snappy?)
Lennox (too much surname? but a bit like Felix)
March (literary. verb. month. me likes)
Nilo or Nolo
Roald (Ro)
Rupert or Rueban (Ru)
Raphael (Ralph)
Yuri (very Russian, means farmer/earth lover-- as a tribute to great Russian authors and farms?)

And the following would make great middle names for you guys (or first names):
Aramis (love this following Leopold, even though they have the same number of syllables.)
Iliad (one of the greatest poems ever. I don't think it's all pretentious to name your baby after a poem if you're a poet, or even a poetry lover, or heck, just an appreciator of the one poem. This also happens to be one of my favorite words because it's just so, so beautiful.)
Meno (a classic from Philosophy)
Pope (love Pope immediately preceding Jasper. and for some reason it really rings well with a two syllable first name-- Ovid Pope Jasper is stunning)
Phaedo (ditto Meno)

Sindri (elf/gnome)

Sparrow (after Wordsworth poem)

What say you, readers? Any new suggestions to add? Would you advise her to stick with the last name, Jasper, or use her own surname to suit the first name they both love (Oscar)? Would you use Finnegan, even as it grows more popular? Would you use Ignatious, even though it gets poor reactions from friends?  I'll say it again, Iggy Jasper is wonderful.

Best of luck to you two in finding the perfect name, and congratulations!


  1. Hazel Albertine Jasper is so beautiful. If you're sure you won't have another, how about Hugo Albertus Jasper? Hugo Albertus: a heart, mind, and spirit that is noble and bright. One of my very favorite combinations of names for a boy. (I've considered it myself, but we have daughters.)

    I also second the suggestions of Leopold, Ambrose, and Berlioz. Or Ignatius. Iggy Jasper IS pretty great.

    Good luck!

  2. Ambrose hit me before I finished the post as well.

    Haze is a cool name that has a feel of Hazel.

    Strangely enough my other half wanted Snorri as well. He just liked the sound of it.

  3. I love the idea of Clovis and Orlando! I think Clovis Jasper has a great snazzy sound to it! I also love Ignatius and think it's adorbable.

    Other ideas?

  4. clive?

    finn is a popular name, but i don't see finnegan quite as much. most people use just finn. i happen to love the name dearly.

    and before you said the baby was a boy i was thinking of hazel. it's still one of my all-time favorite girl names. my problem was that i only wanted a black haired & blue eyed hazel. it wasn't meant to be, but i did get twins with hazel eyes.

  5. Just a caution against names beginning with Hu-. I do like Hugo Jasper, but all it takes is for one adolescent friend to call him Hu, and then they'll make the connection of Hu-Jas...

  6. Thanks all for the great suggestions!

    I love Isidore, nn Izzy!
    love Hugo Albertus!
    Somerled is very nice
    and I really like Haze, don't even need to use Hazlitt to get to it, really.

  7. Seem to be leaning Irish. Oscar Jasper doesn't work, but what about Ossian?

    There are other good "Finn" names too: I particularly like Finegas, Finbar and Fintan, but Finn on its own is perfectly "legitimate" -- just think of Finn McCool... Finn Jasper. Cool!

    Another great Gaelic name is Fergus -- not a million miles from Felix. I think Fergus Jasper works rather well.

    If you're really after an 'Os-/Oz-' name, how about Osirian, Osiris, Oski, Osprey, Oswin, Ozias or the magnificent Ozymandias?

    And did you know that the Turkish boy's name Ozan means "poet"?

    Of Marg's suggestions, I rather like Orpheus, Oberon, Ptolemy or Tobias Jasper (all dactyl and spondee -- perfect for poets ;) )

    Some random others for the pot: Benedict, Dominic, Inigo (a form of Ignatius), Oliver, Peregrine, Silvanus, Silvester, Zachary...

    Jasper is such a cracking surname though, it might be best to keep it quite simple:

    Ben, Harry, George, Harvey, Jack, Jake, Jed, Joseph (Joe), Ned, Owen, Paul, Sidney (Sid), Zack. Combined with Jasper, they all have the ring of future novelist/poet/actor/artist about them.

    Good luck, blessings and congrats!

  8. Fergus and Oski are really great. They sound really warm to me, too!

  9. I wonder what name they went with?

    Oscar is so wonderful, but not with Jasper. So many great suggestions as well.

    I think Edwin has a similar feel to Oscar. Edmund also works well with Jasper. I rather like Boris. Mackenzie on a boy is great.

    But that's just beside the point, since the baby's been named by now!