Poet Moustaches

November 11, 2009

A friend called Al popped into the library yesterday sporting a moustache in progress. He revealed he is participating in Movember (the month formerly known as November), a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer.

So this morning I am pondering the moustaches of poets, past and present. Lizzie has been the usual tower of strength in this matter, listing Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Masefield, Rudyard Kipling and Hugh MacDiarmid. We have mentioned here poets ranked by their beard weight before, and we have touched briefly upon moustaches in interview with that owner of a marvellously hirsuted upper lip, Tim Turnbull. But what other poets have moustaches? And why has the moustache slipped from fashion (outwith Movember, of course)?

8 Responses to “Poet Moustaches”

  1. L.Hunter Says:

    My mum always used to say that kissing a man without a moustache was like eating a boiled egg with no salt.

    • spl5 Says:

      Dear L, your mother’s saying rang a poetical bell with Lizzie and having consulted the Penguin Dictionary of Quotations, is pleased to cofirm that they cite its genesis as from R Kipling himself, from Soldiers Three, ‘The Gadsby, Poor Dear Mamma’. The circle squared!

  2. Louise Says:

    Your poet of the month has a moustache, too. But today it seems particularly appropriate to think of Wilfred Owen, and on the cover of my 1963 edition of his Collected Poems, he’s certainly moustached. Of course Walt Whitman carries both beard and moustache in abundance.

  3. ADF Innes Says:

    I think it’s part of a wider trend within male fashion. Perhaps it harks back to a more austere time.


  4. sunnydunny Says:

    These days a lot have beard AND moustache, but few have JUST moustache. Brian Johnstone’s an obvious exception, but there must be more. I’ve had my facial hair unshaven since 1964 (apart from for a play what I was in), so I’m a constant, not a trend.

    • spl5 Says:

      But one rarely distinguishes between a beard and a moustache – if a gent has a beard, then he has a beard, he would nary be said to have a beard and a moustache. I wonder why that is.

  5. […] the Moustaches of Poets and fabulous Penguin book cover postcards (sadly out of stock, I spy! Horrors!) received from […]

  6. Michael MacLeod Says:

    I would propose that most poets, that I can think of anyway, opt for stubble. While not a poet, I reckon Hitler spoiled any chance ‘taches had of being cool. Maybe in a few generations’ time they’ll be blooming. I always thought Ryan Van Winkle sported a cracking ‘tache.

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