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On Literary Envy – revisiting an old blog post

I was reminded recently why I left Facebook some years ago. Things were getting too toxic for my liking, and I was a bit fed up with endless promotions and self-bigging-up. So I revisited a post I wrote for Anthony Wilson’s blog back in 2015, and as I still stand by it, I thought I’d re-post the link to it here.

It’s basically for anyone who’s ever felt envious of another poet…. enjoy!

On literary envy, by Robin Houghton on Anthony Wilson’s blog

Published inBlog


  1. I love all of this. The self-promotion on Facebook, let alone Twitter, is grotesque. The worst form is the humblebrag – e.g. “I’m so grateful to the editors of the Moreton-in-Marsh poetry journal for having included one of my poems in their next number”. All totally reminiscient of the Italian children whom I saw on my first skiing holiday, who would skid to a halt, assume a pose, and then shout “Look at me, Mamma!”.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Ha ha! And yet some would reply that ‘you have to do that to promote your books/ raise your profile / get invitations to read etc’…. I am so sad that the use of social media, with all its wonderful possibilities to make genuine connection with others, has come to this. Or am I just getting old(er)?

  2. Thanks for sharing your entertaining thoughts on envy Robin — seems quite rife in the literary world but I guess it’s the same whatever your interest is. Though I always think the Masterchef contestants are particularly gallant. I agree the ‘humblebrag’ is quite annoying but at the same time it’s understandable that one wants to blow one’s own trumpet. You’ll be pleased to hear I have nothing to brag about this year, so far.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Maggie! I’m sorry you’ve nothing to brag about SO FAR this year, me neither, but the year is young!! I am much better at bragging on behalf of others, so maybe we should become brag-sisters, and do the job for one another … x

  3. Wise words, Robin. I try and remind myself that most (and possibly all) of what’s written today will be completely forgotten in a hundred years. Ultimately everything is temporary. The sharing in the now is what it should be about. Lovely to ‘see’ you at the Frogmore Press launch the other day. Cx

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you Claire – what an excellent and sobering thought! And thank you also for ‘coming to’ the Frogmore readings, I did catch a glimpse of you there in between my scurrying about trying to find a wifi connection and a working lamp 🙂 We shall meet at a live reading before long! x

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Robin Houghton 2021
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