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

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...

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, but the...

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 and its...

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...

All good publishers have a department of exceptions.

Gabriel Zaid – So Many Books

Focus your light

Wise guidance for writers. I like the way George Eliot calls herself to order and her self-reminder to focus, focus,...

Heroic journals

All laud to Labaume, going to such heroic lengths to write his journal. I will have to introduce this makeshift...

Religion or weariness

I liked this sharp reminder that literature is always work-in-progress, particularly in translation. While I have used the term 'definitive'...

Nonsense daubers

Folly, speaking from her light-hearted pulpit, lays into another bunch of self-serious fools, those who write books, or as she...


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