Scribbles in the sand

Scribbles in the sand

In Couto’s superb novel, a disturbed father tries to isolate his sons from life and learning by taking them to a remote place and denying them any access to writing.   The older brother teaches the younger one in secret, always at risk of dire punishment.  As a...
Like the last of his life

Like the last of his life

Harold Bloom’s comment on Hart Crane (1899-1932) is all the more poignant knowing that Crane considered some of his major work to have been a failure, suffered recurring bouts of alcoholism, and appears to have committed suicide when he jumped overboard a ship...
Poetry as gleaning

Poetry as gleaning

A telling comment by Christopher Isherwood on W.H. Auden’s approach to revising his poems. It makes one wonder how many scholars have wasted hours peering deeply into some poem of ‘celebrated obscurity’ which was never more than an accretion of lines...
Of abundant overflow

Of abundant overflow

What causes creativity to spring forth?  I like Seamus Heaney’s idea that it is not so much reactive as a generous overflow from an abundant internal source.This then is truly creative writing.  It does arise from the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,...
No post and plenty of censorship

No post and plenty of censorship

We don’t know how lucky we are, having access to many forms of communication, electronic or postal, and being free of censorship.  Here Stefan Zweig describes the conditions in which he had to write The World of Yesterday, a moving, lucid account of his world...
Let the colour dry

Let the colour dry

An insight into technique by a superb poet, using a wonderful metaphor.  Time fixes colours, in words as in paints, and you should let your work dry before you alter it. And decisions?  Might the same principle apply?Poems, like water-colours, should be left to dry...
Life and Fate – documentary

Life and Fate – documentary

Stumbled across an excellent documentary by Priscilla Pizzato, Life and Fate by Vasili Grossman (in French, with English subtitles) on the European channel Arte.tv.  If you haven’t yet read the book, this could be the trigger.Sorry to say this was only available...
Missing homework

Missing homework

Here Steinbeck suffers a bout of exam nerves before being bombarded with highly intellectual questions from his counterparts in the Soviet Union, particularly regarding ‘American writing’, which for some reason they expected him to know something about. As...
Four years old today!

Four years old today!

Today is Shakespeare’s birthday & ours! The WritingRedux literary ink-fest is 4 years old with 2000+ dazzling illustrated quotes, reviews and other bright writing delights. Sign up for regular mind-feast despatches to hone your wits and lift your...
Focus your light

Focus your light

Wise guidance for writers. I like the way George Eliot calls herself to order and her self-reminder to focus, focus, focus resonates. A perennial weakness is being yanked in two directions – the desire to concentrate light on a particular web on the one hand,...
It happens to the best of them

It happens to the best of them

Isn’t it somehow reassuring that even the Steinbecks of the world can have creative meltdowns? Here he describes a play which ran through his fingers after melting four times. What he did next, by the way, was to cook up a trip to the Soviet Union with Robert...

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