Famous Authors Insulting One Another’s Work

The Bronte Sisters by Patrick Branwell, c. 1834I’m all for civility and kindness, but honestly, this was too funny not to share. It takes a real wordsmith to craft some of these clever critiques. One thing worth noting is that almost every insult addresses a specific aspect of the writer’s work and phrases the critique in bitingly concise prose. If you must critique someone, this is a good way to do it.

 

“Epithalamion”-A Summer Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins inspire me as no others do. His playful way with words and incredibly vivid images are distinctive and memorable. It’s important for writers–even business and non-fiction writers– to study the use of language, and to read things that can improve their prose. Hopkins’ poems can do just that. Enjoy!

Epithalamion
by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1918)

Hark, hearer, hear what I do; lend a thought now, make believe
We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood
Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood,
Southern dene or Lancashire clough or Devon cleave,
That leans along the loins of hills, where a candycoloured, where a gluegold-brown
Marbled river, boisterously beautiful, between
Roots and rocks is danced and dandled, all in froth and waterblowballs, down.
We are there, when we hear a shout
That the hanging honeysuck, the dogeared hazels in the cover
Makes dither, makes hover
And the riot of a rout
Of, it must be, boys from the town
Bathing: it is summer’s sovereign good.

By there comes a listless stranger: beckoned by the noise
He drops towards the river: unseen
Sees the bevy of them, how the boys
With dare and with downdolphinry and bellbright bodies huddling out,
Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by turn and turn about.

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