Dr. Mardy Grothe is a ‘wordsmith extraordinaire’ and he is an author of many books that take an in-depth look at some of the more amusing elements of our English language. A case in point is his book entitled Oxymoronica.

By Dr. Grothe’s own definition, oxymoronica is a noun that means: “Any compilation of phrases or quotations that initially appear illogical or nonsensical, but upon reflection, make a good deal of sense and are often profoundly true.”

The following list of oxymorons is concerning ‘writers’ and it is one of the many treasures found within the book Oxymoronica.

  • It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous. — Robert C. Benchley
  • A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. — Thomas Mann
  • I love being a writer. What I hate is the paperwork. — Peter De Vries
  • I don’t think I am any good. If I thought I was any good, I wouldn’t be. — John Betjeman
  • We are all failures — at least, all the best of us are. — J. M. Barrie, on writers
  • Be obscure clearly. — E. B. White, advice to writers
  • A good novel is possible only after one has given up and let go. — Walker Percy
  • If it sounds like writing, I re-write it. — Elmore Leonard
  • It takes less time to learn how to write nobly than how to write lightly and straightforwardly. — Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Writing came easy — it would only get hard when I got better at it. — Gary Wills
  • Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead. — Gene Fowler

And here are samples of poets who have created ingenious oxymoronic verse:

Our interest’s on the dangerous edge of things.
The honest thief, the tender murderer,
The superstitious atheist.
— Robert Browning, in “Bishop Blougram’s Apology”

In solitude, when we are least alone.
— Lord Byron, in “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied.
— T. S. Eliot, in “Ash Wednesday”

Here’s a good rule of thumb:
Too clever is dumb.
— Ogden Nash

And ’tis remarkable that they
Talk most who have the least to say.
— Matthew Prior, in “Alma”

A day
Spent in a round of strenuous idleness.
— William Wordsworth, in “The Prelude”

For those who love the art and fund of ‘wordplay,’ there is a tremendous site for your surfing pleasure at http://www.drmardy.com/


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.