Name controversy hits Chandigarh International Airport

18227917006_a55104f2f3_mOn the 11th of September 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the international terminal of one the largest airports of Northern India. Although the airport is a technological triumph, it included onomastic hitch: the festivities were conducted without a final decision on the new terminal’s name.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, the Punjab government lobbied for the name Shaheed-E-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali-Chandigarh. However, the Haryana government complained that the Punjabi suggestion was far too long and complicated. Covering over 305 acres of land, the 53,000 square meter terminal is due to open for business on or about the 19th of October 2015. In the meantime, the airport remains unnamed.

White poet used Chinese pen name to gain entry into Best American Poetry

11498642576_fa8d3cdd11_mThe 2015 edition of the prestigious anthology Best American Poetry (BAP) is now on sale. A mainstay since 1988, the American anthology is commonly accepted as one of the most important literary platforms for aspiring wordsmiths.

This year, the publication announcement includes an unforeseen onomastic controversy: Appearing alongside Chen Chen’s poem “i will do/undo what was done/undone to me” and Jane Wong’s “Thaw” is Yi-Fen Chou’s award winning poem “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve”. It looks as if three Asian-American authors made the final cut. However, the name Yi-Fen Chou is a pseudonym for Mr. Michael Derrick Hudson, who has no known Asian ancestry.

When asked why he had chosen this pen name, Hudson replied that he resorted to this tactic after his poem was repeatedly rejected under his real name.

As BAP juror and literary heavy-weight Sherman Alexie revealed in an interview with The Guardian that he only learned of Hudson’s non-Asian ancestry after the poem had been selected. According to Alexie, one of his goals when putting the 2015 anthology together was to make sure that it represented the true diversity of the United States. When he therefore learned the real identity of the author behind the name, Yi-Fen Chou, he was livid.

In an interview with, Dr. Timothy Yu, Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explained that one of the reasons why Hudson’s onomastic subterfuge was so injurious was that it ”fits into a long tradition of […] white Americans appropriating Asian identities and culture.” While poets and pundits will no doubt continue to argue the legitimacy of including Yi-Fen Chou/Hudson’s submission, from an onomastic point of view, this case exemplifies the power of names in forming our opinions and guiding our decision-making.

The poetry foundation offers many reactions to Yi-Fen Chou.

Christian Literary Studies Group (CLSG) Conference: Homiletics / The Game of the Name, Oxford, November 7, 2015

6009799407_cbf12106a1_mOn the 7th of November 2015, the Christian Literary Studies Group (CLSG) will be holding a conference entitled “Homiletics / The Game of the Name” at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (UK). The purpose of the CLSG is to explore the Christian faith via literary analysis.

This year’s conference will explore the significance of names and naming in Biblical texts. Some of the scheduled presentations include:

  • “Christian Names: some aspects of literary onomastics in early English literature”, Dr Paul Cavill, University of Nottingham
  • “Robert Southwell’s sermon The Triumphs over Death”, Dr Mike Nolan, La Trobe University, Melbourne
  • “Wuldorfæder and Heofenrices Weard: The Names of God in Old English Poetry”, Samuel Cardwell, Cambridge

The attendance fee for non-members is £18.  Click here for more information about the conference and to learn about the CLSG Journal, The Glass.

Global coalition tells Facebook to kill its Real Names policy

The Nameless Coalition, a global alliance of women’s groups, LGBTQ groups, human rights and digital rights groups has asked Facebook to abandon its policy that requires its users to use their legal names. The coalition claims that the use of real names puts some individuals in dangerous situations and disproportionately discriminates against the groups of people most affected by the dangers of  using their real names.… Read More

The Trademarked Name Diesel

download (2)The EU ordered makers of the game DieselStormers to change its name because Diesel Clothing trademarked Diesel not just for clothing, but for every industry. Tech Dirt discusses the decision and considers the purpose of trademarks.