Happy 89th Birthday to Beston Jack Abrams!

Beston Jack Abrams turns 89 today. As he approaches his tenth decade, I honor and celebrate the “ancient aphorist,” as Jack refers to himself, with what I consider his top 10 aphorisms, excerpted from Abramisms: Lives of the Ancient Aphorist, Volumes I and II and the steady stream of new sayings it is my privilege […]

Short Flights: New Anthology of Contemporary Aphorists

“Editors Lough and Stein prove that good things come in small packages with this collection of modern aphorisms — short but sweet nuggets of wisdom, humor, insight, and clever turn of phrase.” Thus begins the Publishers Weekly review of Short Flights: Thirty-Two Modern Writers Share Aphorisms of Insight, Inspiration, and Wit, to be published November […]

Aphorisms by Georges Perros

Another great find from Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and author of the aphoristically amazing Tramp Freighter: Gertrude Stein once dismissed Ezra Pound as the ‘village explainer’. In his aphoristic writings, Georges Perros (1923-1978) at times comes off as the ‘village complainer’. Though born in the literary hothouse of Paris, by his mid-thirties […]

Wendell Berry on Writing

There are, it seems, two Muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say, ‘It is yet more difficult than you thought.’ This is the muse of form. … It may be, then, that form serves us best when it […]

Ryokan at the Tea Ceremony

At one time, the Master attended a formal tea ceremony … picked a piece of dried snot from his nose, and, trying not to attract any attention, went to place it beside him on his right. The guest there pulled back his sleeve in disgust. So the Master tried to place it on his left; […]

Aphorisms by Lance Larsen

Lance Larsen, poet laureate of Utah and a professor at BYU, is the author of four poetry collections: Genius Loci (2013), Backyard Alchemy (2009), In All Their Animal Brilliance (2005), and Erasable Walls (1998). Individual poems have appeared in Slate, New York Review of Books, Orion, Paris Review, Poetry, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, TLS, Best American Poetry 2009, and elsewhere.  His essays also appear […]

Confessions of A Metaphor Designer

Interesting piece by Michael Erard in Aeon on how to design a metaphor: “Designing metaphors makes you look around and realise how much of the language we use has been engineered to create its effects, in the same way that the resistance of an Oreo cookie’s cream against the tongue is no accident. To the […]

Aphorisms by Kenneth Patchen

Another aphoristic addition to the site from James Finnegan, whose Aphorisms by James Finnegan are extremely rewarding… I’ve had the Collected Poems by Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) for many years, almost as long as I’ve been a poet. Patchen had a wide range in his poetry, from the whimsical to the politically acerbic. Recently I was […]

Aphorisms by James Finnegan

James Finnegan is a poet who also composes aphoristic ars poetica at ursprache. He works in the field of financial institution insurance. Willie Sutton is one of his heroes. When he’s moved to assert something outside of poetics, he posts to Tramp Freighter. A selection below …   One can only be noble when no […]

More Aphorisms by Peter Yovu

I first blogged about Peter Yovu’s aphorisms back in 2012. Now, just in time for the new year, here’s a selection of his more recent sayings…   Self is to consciousness what salt is to sea.   The end plays dead and lets you find it.   Fear of Death: it’s like knowing I have […]


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