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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




  • Antony Mair

    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

      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)?

  • Maggie Sawkins

    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

      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

  • Claire Booker

    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

      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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