Aphorisms from Harvard Summer School’s JOUR S-137 Feature Writing Class

The course description for JOUR S-137 Feature Writing, taught at the Harvard Summer School by Kansas City Star columnist and Nieman fellow, class or 2017, Jeneé Osterheldt, says the class will focus on reporting and writing techniques that “lead to stories that sing with rich detail and narrative style.” The aphorisms Jeneé’s students produced during my workshop […]

Aphorisms by Francis Picabia

From the indefatigable aphorist and convener extraordinaire Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and genius loci of Tramp Freighter… I enjoy finding a good tiny book. One I picked up a few years ago: Yes No: Poems & Sayings by Francis Picabia, published by Hanuman Books (1990) and translated by Rémy Hall. It’s a […]

from the Hartford Aphorism Conference

The indefatigable aphorist and convener extraordinaire Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and genius loci of Tramp Freighter, brought together dozens of like-minded Hartford residents on April 1 for a one-day conference on aphorisms. After a talk by myself and readings by aphorist/poets Sharon Dolin, Alfred Corn and George Murray, a couple dozen aspiring […]

The Best of Beston Jack Abrams

My friend Beston Jack Abrams refers to himself  as the “ancient aphorist,” because he turned 90 last month and is still reading, writing and thinking about aphorisms. He recently published Volumes I–IX of his collected works, Abramisms: Lines of The Ancient Aphorist. But Jack’s nickname is even more appropriate for another reason. He is an […]

Metaphors Be with You, by Mardy Grothe

Mardy Grothe describes Metaphors Be with You, his new book, as “a museum of quotations” but, thanks to his innovative use of QR codes linked to an online database, the book is a living, breathing museum of metaphorical masterpieces all language lovers will want to explore. In the book, Mardy selected “The Ten Best Things […]

Aphorisms by Marquis De Vauvenargues

Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and genius loci of Tramp Freighter, on Marquis De Vauvenargues (Luc de Clapiers) Marquis De Vauvenargues (Luc de Clapiers) (Geary’s Guide, pp. 141-143) was of noble lineage, but born to family with little money. Perhaps then it’s no surprise that his aphorisms combine some of the aristocratic cool […]

The Complete Poems of Alvin Feinman

Alvin Feinman (1929-2008) was my poetry teacher at Bennington College in the 1980s. He made a huge impression on me as a teacher, with the purity and integrity of his engagement with poetry, and I consider his poems to be among the greatest written by an American in the 20th century, rivaling the work of […]

Aphorisms by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and genius loci of Tramp Freighter, on one of the all-time great aphorists, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach … It may be that everyone already knows how good the aphorisms of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) are. But I just got acquainted with her work through the book Aphorisms (Ariadne Press, […]

20 Female Aphorists from the Balkans

Ljupka Cvetanova, about whom I blogged back in 2012, sends news of a new book of aphorisms written by 20 female aphorists from the Balkans. Women from every country of the former Yugoslavia are included: Slovenia, Croatia, Republica Srpska, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia, and Macedonia. One of the aphorists, Dragana Pasic, is also a cartoonist, […]

Aphorisms by Mark Twain

Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and genius loci of Tramp Freighter, strikes again … A couple weeks ago, browsing in my local library, I picked up a copy of Mark Twain Laughing (University of Tennessee Press, 1985), edited by P.M. Zall. As one would guess by the title, the book quotes many amusing […]


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