Monday, May 1, 2017


A wordsmith, by definition, is a skilled user of words. This noun was coined, it seems, in the late 19th century. All wordsmiths are writers; not all writers are wordsmiths. Paradoxical? Perhaps. The internet has spawned writers who spew words at an alarming rate. Few 'bloggers' are wordsmiths. All, of course, are writers.

The grandfather of all wordsmiths goes by default to William Shakespeare. His most brilliant progeny must needs be James Joyce ('must needs be' is an archaic or rather formal adverbial phrase meaning 'necessarily'... for those who wondered). Shakespeare, of course, wrote volumes. Joyce wrote but three novels, a book of short stories, a play, and a slim book of poems. While one might read Hamlet in a day, Finnegan's Wake might occupy a lifetime (indeed, Joyce himself suggested that the perfect reader for Finnegan's Wake would be an insomniac who on finishing the book would turn to page one and start again).

Verbosity is not the sole measure of the wordsmith. 17th century Japanese poet Bashō, known primarily for his haiku, was also a consummate wordsmith. His books are a combination of prose and poetry known in Japanese as haibun, a word often translated as prose with a distinctive haiku flavor. They were simply travelogues, but exquisite examples of that genre done by a master wordsmith.

CONVERSATIONS is a weblog ('blog' is an ugly word) for wordsmiths. The site is also a vehicle to give my books (my ideas?) a hearing. I have selected a 'free' platform to begin this project. Advertising, apparently, will happen. If this becomes intolerable, I will simply stop. My goal with the weblog is to post weekly some 300 words of intelligent 'conversation' without error or inanity.

Questions, comments, and corrections are encouraged.

gaptoothed, belly full
pass clogged with snow