An eclection of insights into the nature of writing and being a writer. 

What it takes to be an author

What it takes to be an author

In my naivety, I thought you just had to write and publish a book to be an author, but apparently there's more to it than that, and I'm not sure I qualify on any of these stringent criteria.  He, like many other people of his day, thought that an author must be a...

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 new...

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 he was...

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 that had passed...

All good publishers have a department of exceptions.

Gabriel Zaid – So Many Books

Letters unopened

We use the term ‘back of the envelope’ to capture the notion of jotting down an idea or plan on...

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