….and this year’s most read reviews are….

 -Collated by Claire Trévien

It’s that time of year again, where end of year lists sprout across the internet, tilting their faces towards readers everywhere. In that spirit, here are our most read reviews (published this year and not counting any Saboteur Awards-related posts!) for you to peruse! If you want more recommendations, I shared some of my favourite things published this year over on Twitter.

Top 3 most read essays

  1. The Poetics of Money #1, Sophie McKeand

The Nationwide adverts certainly divided poets this year, and we decided to publish two pieces reflecting on ethics, creativity and commissions, of which this was the first. Sophie’s thoughtful piece, reflecting on the precariousness of life as a poet, argued that sometimes taking the money can give you the space to create work that matters to you.

  1. The Poetics of Money #2, Fay Roberts

In this second essay on the Nationwide adverts, Fay took a closer look at the dynamics of poets on social media – and, in particular, the high account to which spoken word is held to.

  1. The Challenges of Reviewing Spoken Word

I was slightly prodded to write this piece in the run up to the first weekend of the Ledbury Emerging Critics Scheme, where I was due to lead a workshop on reviewing spoken word and poetry pamphlets. Recruiting spoken word reviewers has been a struggle from day one, and I am so grateful to our editors James Webster, Sally Jack, and Mak Manaka for keeping that side going!

Fancy contributing an essay? Email [email protected]

Top 3 most read reviews of spoken word and other performances

  1. ‘I write about chairs, put me in the chairs section’: New Orleans Poetry Festival Day 1

I was lucky enough to attend the New Orleans Poetry Festival this year as a reviewer, and uploaded a few reviews and interviews with small press editors, of which this was the first part.

  1. Dr John Cooper Clarke at the Firestation Arts Centre 21/06/17

Reviewed by David Mitchell, it sounds like a cracker of a night, featuring Toria Garbutt, Mike Garry, and JCC himself.

  1. The Venus Papers Stage Show (Attenborough Arts, Leicester, 4 February 2017)

Sally Jack’s review of Lydia Towsey’s multidisciplinary and theatrical spoken word show also attracted some well deserved attention!

Fancy reviewing spoken word? Email [email protected] (Midlands), James [email protected] (south east) or [email protected] (South Africa).

Top 3 most read reviews of poetry publications

  1. Spitting Distance by Mark Pajak

Penny Boxall’s review of Mark Pajak’s début pamphlet, was the most read review of a poetry publication. Read it and watch out for that killer last line: “These spring-loaded poems, like mousetraps, wait for the opportune moment – then bite.”

  1. The Doll Collection, ed. Diane Lockward

Deirdre Hines’ review of this American anthology also performed well, showcasing an unusually themed book.

  1. You Found a Beating Heart, by Nina Bhakoo

Another single-authored pamphlet finds itself dominating the views, this time it’s Emma Lee’s review of Nina Bhakoo’s ‘dream-like’ work.

Fancy reviewing poetry? Email Karen and Becky at [email protected]

Top 3 most read reviews of fiction

  1. Ritual, 1969 by Jo Mazelis

This haunting collection of short stories, sewn through with elements of horror and fairy-tale, was reviewed by Cath Barton, who praised Mazelis for creating stories ‘full of mythic elements but completely original’.

  1. Some of Us Glow More Than Others by Tania Hershman

This short story collection was reviewed by our very own fiction editor Richard T. Watson! How can you resist the promise of “laboratory politics and buckets of jellyfish”?

  1. The Man I Became by Peter Verhelst (trans. David Colmer)

It’s always good to see translations get a mention (especially one narrated by a gorilla), and Terry Melia’s review does a great job of making me want to buy this novella immediately.

Fancy reviewing fiction? Email Richard at [email protected]



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