Sunday, November 28, 2010

Top Ten Posts: Shakin' Sylvia and Jivin' Jean and all the rest

After a day sorting out the dreaded boat shed, discovering useful things like the small red balls that go in the Harry Potter game and a pick-up for an acoustic guitar, I have spent a little time sorting out my blog and found similar treasures.

Here's one: a new gadget called 'Popular Posts' which shows my top ten posts ever.  Spot it in the sidebar to the left. 

I am not surprised to see Sylvia Plath heading the list. On 'feedjit' below - and my statcounter - I see how often people search out and find Sylvia. She fascinates as a woman writer of genius who pushed the envelope and died too young.

Number two on the list is my poem on the Christchurch Earthquake, illustrating the 'after shocks' of that event - shocks that are still being felt physically, emotionally and financially.  Reading the poem on National Radio would have given it a boost. Jim Mora is the erudite host of Radio NZ's current events hour, The Panel, and he loves poet guests to read their stuff.

Third is Jean Batten (pictured) - who fascinates for similar reasons to Plath. Poets reading from Best NZ Poems are next up, followed Kate De Goldi's runaway success 10 PM Question.

After that, two light-hearted posts -- one on a funny novelist's t-shirt, and the other is a found poem on bongos that is so light its barely there. A lot of bongo players out there?

A pair of sestinas follow: Andrew Johnston's The Sunflower which inspired my Southern Man which comes straight afterwards. I am thrilled Andrew's poem is getting extra airplay here - it is a masterpiece and deserves it. And my sestina is one of the things I am most proud of this year. It took me over 20 hours to write (I went down the wrong track with the rhyme-scheme to start with), and when I finished, I was exhausted and bursting with pride. It felt like I imagine running a marathon would feel.

Southern Man was another poem I was able to read  on air, and subsequently had the most responses of any poem of mine ever - southerners and people who knew Alan (the Southern Man) rang and left messages, emailed, and stopped me in the streets and at parties. One woman yelled something over her shoulder as she cycled past one day. We were both heading towards the mountains I'd described in the poem and they shone in exactly the same way.

Number Ten is Emily Dickinson's poem Hope. Another woman of genius. A brilliant small poem.

Given my focus on poetry recently via Tuesday Poem (click on the quill in the sidebar to go there), and the increase in followers to this blog as a result, it's no surprise poems hold sway on my all time Top Ten. That could change of course. With summer holidays coming, I am planning to finish the children's novel and get on with Precarious. I won't have much time to blog, but do expect some posts on the difficulties of making hay while the sun shines.

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