My Top Three

Good morning! Or evening. Or afternoon — look, you could be anywhere right now, so I wish you a good-whatever. I’ve just received an email from WordPress summarising how the year has gone for this little blog of mine, and I thought I’d share with you what the top three posts of the year have been. I’m not sure if ‘most views’ directly correlates to ‘best liked’ but I think largely we can infer that, because it means they were shared more by you, the invisible readers (who, it turns out, are mostly American, although I had visitors from 90 countries this year, so hurray for diversity!)

What you liked most doesn’t entirely match my own favourites, but that’s the nature of the beast. It went like this:

1. Thursday Poem: Shoulders by Shane Koyczan

Interestingly, this was the only spoken word piece I shared among my Thursday Poems, and it was the winner by some margin. I wonder if that was because of the environmental message, because most of you are lovers of spoken word, or just because it was an awesome poem. I imagine it’s a little bit of all those things and I love spoken word poetry too, so in the coming year, I’ll make a more concerted effort to vary the range of poetry I share.

2. Thursday Poem: Aubade With Burning City by Ocean Vuong

I am supremely unsurprised this proved popular, and just for the record, I love that my top two posts weren’t anything general of mine, but rather the brilliance of other poets. That’s the reason I started the Thursday Poem segment in the first place, to share my joy at encountering such dazzling poetry so regularly. Ironically, my housemate and I, with whom I originally started doing this in the privacy of our home, have fallen out of the habit. Mostly because I went away for several months and he, in turn, is now on holiday, so I’m certain we’ll get back to it eventually, but in the meantime, I’m glad I had a reason to keep going on my own.

Every time I read this poem, I am once again blown away. I definitely need to read more of Ocean’s poetry. My favourite line, if I had to choose:

On the nightstand, a sprig of magnolia expands like a secret heard
                                                                      for the first time.

That’s just fucking gorgeous.

3. Grade F

To my surprise, the third most popular post was a rough poem I wrote in response to the massacre of women by a maniac in America, though I don’t specifically reference it; it was more a general outpouring of disgust, at myself and the rest of us, who tolerate this culture of misogyny and rape, who continue to victim-blame. I will forever be saddened while this poem remains relevant. I hope, of all the things I’ve written, it becomes obsolete first.

Rather than end on that somewhat ugly note, I’ll mention the poem I loved most this year, the poem which affected me most deeply, which still floods my body with emotion every time I read it, was Philip Levine’s What Work Is. I think I made the mistake of rambling too much about how I got to reading it, and linked to too many other things in my original post, and maybe that’s why not enough people got to the actual poem but I’m not making that mistake here. It’s such a simple, yet powerful poem, and when I think of the kind of impact I want to make on my readers, I think of this, think of how it makes me feel Every. Damn. Time.

That’s it for me! It’s been an awesomely poetic year, in terms of poems written and read, and I can only hope it’s been the same for you too.

Here’s to another year of the same!