I’ve had a look at the statistics for this site and they show that it has been visited on 9,552 occasions this year, and posts were viewed 16,475 times. I find this WordPress site easy to use , pay nothing to do so and find it suits my purposes very well. A lot of these visits will have been generated by poet bloggers such as John Foggin who featured my work last week, and by Matthew Stewart who kindly included this site on his list of his favourite UK poetry blogs. , and I am grateful to them for their support and interest.
Their are several posts and pages from previous years that always receive a high percentage of visits. These include Putting a poetry pamphlet together from January 2015 and the page about Poetry submissions I wrote in 2011. Re-reading the latter just now, I’m surprised how authoritative I sound considering I’d only been sending out work myself for a year or two. Still, I think it is basically sound advice and fulfilled my intention, which was to share what I had learned up to that point in order to provide the sort of information I myself would like if I were starting to send work out.
Popular posts written this year include one on Alice Oswald’s poem ‘Swan’ which you can read here.
Also one on Edward Thomas’s Adlestrop which I enjoyed writing. It’s here if you are interested.
Third in the list of most visited was this sort post which briefly discussed the male gaze in relation to one of my own poems and Leonardo Da Vinci.
I was also pleased that post highlighting work by Anna Kisby, a wonderful poet published by the new Against The Grain press, has received some attention. I’d find this blog pretty dull if it were all about me!
My second full collection of poems came out this year, and received very favourable reviews in both The North and The Interpreter’s House. I was very pleased and touched to read these thoughtful and well written pieces .
I have enjoyed reading in Bradford on Avon, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Halifax, Lichfield, London, Newcastle and am grateful to all those who invited me to read and organised the events . I’ve had the pleasure of reading with poets like Richard Goodson, Maria Taylor, Kim Moore, Alison Brackenbury, Keith Hutson, Jo Dixon, Jane Commane and many others, including American poets Michael Waters and Mihaela Mosaliuc.
I have also listened to great deal of poetry, much of it of very high quality and written by the unsung hero’s and heroines of the uk’s open mic. poetry scene.
There are a lot of lists of the years best poetry books about. I haven’t read a tremendous amount, (I did notice the work of New Poets Prize winner Lizzi Hawkins in The North, and think it is superb) having felt somewhat saturated with the volume of new work being published at one point and reading less than in previous years. There are a few reasons for this. I have fibromyalgia, so have to take it easy sometimes. Another reason is that our new puppy, Cleo, has taken up some of my time.
I am pleased for all those celebrating their success, whatever it may mean to them (see thoughts on this here) but whenever I see those who are (rightly) sharing their success, I can’t help thinking of all those poets who feel ignored or who are having a fallow time, either in terms of writing or recognition. The more I observe the poetry scene (or rather ‘scenes’ ) the more I realise that recognition is not necessarily connected to merit. The other thing I know is that while we may regard others as experiencing ‘success’, it may not feel like success to them. I’d like to wish all writers reading this, ‘successful’ and otherwise, well.
I’m looking forward to getting out and about to read in 2018, and am fortunate and grateful to have received invitations from several poetry groups, the first of which is in Cheltenham in February. Given the gaps between readings (my last was in lovely Ludlow at the beginning of November) I often experience a mix of excitement and trepidation as a reading approaches. No doubt as February comes close it will once again be possible for people in my local to see a man walking and talking to himself as I practice poems and introductions while the stop watch on my phone keeps time. I hate going over allotted times and am a bit obsessed with coming in just under. I’ll have to remember to read slowly, as once or twice I’m sure I’ve tried to fit too much in and rushed things a little.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I hope the global situation improves, particularly for all those displaced through no fault of their own. I hope, as always, that humanity makes informed decisions and that compassion and empathy prevail. I hope you and your loved ones are well. Thank you for reading.
Love, light, and peace.