This blog would be nothing without its readers. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, made a comment or a connection, or offered an insight. I am more grateful than I can say. I still pinch myself to find that there are readers out there at all. This is not false modesty speaking. This is the truth. When I started doing this, I genuinely thought maybe four people would read it, and that two of those would hate it. So thank you. Whether you are a regular commenter or have just climbed aboard. Thank you. Your interest is the oxygen I breathe; my sense of a need to answer to you is what keeps me going.
Here are my most-read blog posts from 2015:
Lifesaving Poems: Denise Levertov’s ‘The Secret’: On finding silence and solitude in a waiting room.
A day he won’t have: On meeting a friend at the cash machine and learning of his serious illness.
Guest blog post: Hands like these, by Beverly Rycroft: On homesickness, mortality, and being ‘distanced’ from one’s own body.
Lifesaving Poems: Ellen Doré Watson’s ‘Be Here First’: Having heard her read at Aldeburgh 2014, I was compelled to include her remarkable account of the struggle to stay present in the moment.
Lifesaving Poems: Michel Quoist’s ‘Thank you Lord, thank you’: A list poem/prayer which plays with the idea that God might be interested (and therefore non-judgemental) in sharing a cigarette with a co-worker, or a beer at the end of the day.
Lifesaving Poems: Boris Pasternak’s ‘Hamlet’: In which I reminisce about my adolescent theory that in order to write poems you needed to be up at dawn, freezing and preferably in (or just out of) love.
This may not work: The title is taken from Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception. On Steven Pressfield and Tara Donovan’s sculptures, a short meditation on showing up, doubt and not waiting for permission to make your art.
Guest blog post: How I put The Art of Falling together, by Kim Moore: A brilliant inside view on the process of making a first collection of poetry. Essential reading.
Lifesaving Poems: Juan Ramón Jiménez’s ‘I Am Not I’: A crystal-clear poem of mindful acceptance and gentleness of and with the self.
Guest blog post: On Literary Envy, by Robin Houghton: The best thing on this occupational hazard I have read. This is up there with Anne Lamott.
Guest blog post: Endings and Legacies, by Naomi Jaffa: The former director of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on two of its most honoured guests, CK Williams and Philip Levine, both of whom we lost in 2015.