Poets Ranked By Beard Weight

This 1913 leaflet (excerpted here for your enjoyment) uses the ancient art of pogonomancy, or divination by beard reading, to evaluate various well-known poets. The author, Upton Uxbridge Underwood, created the Underwood Pogonometric Index to scientifically judge not only the weight and shape of a poet’s beard, but also its “ectoplasmic aura.” Thus Walt Whitman’s impressive-looking beard (pictured) scores rather low on the Underwood Index because it lacks “odylic force.” Upton Uxbridge Underwood: clearly the original hipster.

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