Author Archives: Andrew Oberg

Experiential Reading

Ezra Pound’s definition of poetry was that which cannot be paraphrased, and by defining it that way he added his considerable literary weight to the debate on the topic of form-content unity. By this definition he might in fact have started that debate, I don’t know and purely for reasons of unnecessary self-restraint will refrain […]

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There Is Only the Work

In carrying on with our recent theme of finding value in the doing (and on that, here too), consider the well known writer’s coping mechanism (or happy delusion, willful illusion, nighttime solace, etc. etc. and take your pick) of “famous when dead”. It has of course happened, and the historical examples are sufficiently numerous that […]

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Intrinsic Rewards

There’s a scene in the lead up to the climax of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre where the Autodidact character – in this part of the novel essentially playing the foil to the lead character Antoine Roquentin, in whose first person perspective the book is written – reveals that he is a Socialist and that he […]

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A Writer’s Enemies

In last week’s post we considered some aspects of fictional enemies – more specifically the writing of villains – and in this week’s post I’d like to stay on the same general theme but move it out of our heads and into our hearts, from pages to people, from efiles to paper forms, from the […]

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Writing Characters You Don’t Find Likeable

Villains. As a child I used to root for them in all of my favorite cartoons (memorably G.I. Joe, He-Man, and Transformers, and amongst them especially Destro and then later the denizens of Cobra-La when they were introduced). The good guys were just so bland, so one-dimensional, and their victories so banally predictable that even […]

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A Poem a Day

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) spent almost the entirety of his life within a fairly small geographical circle of the Northeastern United States. He was primarily employed as an executive for an insurance company based in Hartford, Connecticut, born into a wealthy family, son of a lawyer and studied law himself at the New York Law School. […]

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The Private Lives of (Japanese) Writers

There is something of a tradition in Japan of relatives or close friends publishing memoirs and biographies about the country’s writers. Natsume Soseki, Junichiro Tanizaki, Naoya Shiga, Yukio Mishima, all get their share. We are treated to inside views of the authors as people, as everyday men (sadly almost always men despite Japanese women’s voices […]

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Gratitude

It is an incredible thing to be able to write. Just the act of it, the sheer practice, is astounding, and something that is all too easy to take for granted, to lose sight of the vast historical trajectories that have made it possible. Being caught up in the modern world of digi-madness and pop […]

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The Narcissism of “Read Me”

There is a particular edge to art, to creation, an aggressiveness almost. It is after all a matter of some chutzpah to think that anyone would or even should care about this little bit of X that you have brought into the world. The attitude perhaps best expresses itself in phrases like “we [artists] are […]

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Flights of Fantasy

Other than by the default of being human I’m not sure what makes our species so interesting. We spend much of our time concerned about food, we move about in more or less set territories and even smaller circles of familiarity within them, we seek pleasure and avoid pain, we call to each other in […]

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