Tuesday, 27 December 2022

The future of poetry blogging

The last few years have undoubtedly seen a significant drop in the number of poetry bloggers on the U.K. and in the regularity of their posts, almost as if there were a tacit recognition of the format’s growing irrelevance in the context of social media.

However, I’d argue that this shift is also tied in to two important points. Firstly, it’s far quicker for a user to tweet than to write a blog post. And secondly, even if the blogger gets their finger out and writes a post, it seems to fall into a vacuum and garner little reaction (how many people leave comments on blogs these days?!), whereas a tweet might receive several replies in minutes.

Well, I can do little to address the first question apart from suggesting we all need to fight the growing loss in our attention spans. Nevertheless, the second issue does have several potential solutions that can not only help poetry blogs survive but enrich our interaction with them.

Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with how I use this blog in conjunction with social media. My point of departure was a quick analysis of the differing temporal nature of blogs, Facebook and Twitter as a poet’s main means of communication with their readers. If a blog post often gathers pace over the course of days and weeks (and sometimes even months and years if Google takes a fancy to it), Facebook posts accumulate likes over a period of hours and days, while Tweets find audiences mainly in minutes and hours.

This is why blogs are losing impetus. But it’s also their possible saving grace. Rather than viewing my blog as a separate entity from my social media use and lamenting its decline as a fading anachronism, I’ve begun to realise that my blog posts could acquire a crucial function on Twitter and Facebook. And as a consequence, the viewing stats for Rogue Strands have increased once more.

For instance, on some occasions, I now initiate a debate on Twitter via a quick, questioning Tweet, let the replies fly back and forth, then collate the differing opinions in a blog post that can consequently be posted on Twitter to bring the discussion together more coherently, thus enabling it to take a step forward instead of being lost on a morass of other threads.

Meanwhile, another option is to use a blog post as an anchor for debate. If a quick Tweet feels insubstantial, too open to misinterpretation or not long enough for a position to be coherently explained, the afore-mentioned blog post can work as starting point for exchanges of views. What’s more, if posted as the start of a thread, a decent blog post is a place where Twitter users can check back to recall a discussion’s initial frame of reference.

Oh, and one final reflection-cum provocation. I’ve found that certain blog posts fly on Twitter and others on Facebook. Facebook tends to work best with posts that reward lengthier engagement, while Twitter homes in on catchier stuff that’s more immediately attractive. Once again, the question of our ever-reducing attention-spans.

Do you agree? Does your experience tally with mine? Am I right in feeling that there is a strong future for poetry blogs if they learn to interact with social media in innovative ways…? Do you have alternative suggestions?

Monday, 19 December 2022

The Best U.K. Poetry Blogs of 2022

As social media evolves, so the role of poetry blogs is changing. A number of poetry bloggers seem to have given up this year or started posting on a far more sporadic and irregular basis, as if they’re struggling to find a purpose or a need for their blog posts. Nevertheless, I’d argue that as the internet develops, so the role of poetry blogs is adapting rather than vanishing. In this context, I’ll be posting in January about the new, extremely useful potential niches that might be filled by poetry blogs from now on.

For the moment, however, here's my highly subjective and personal list of The Best U.K. Poetry Blogs of 2022, divided this year into three separate sections: newcomers, regular blogs (i.e. ones that post on average at least once a month) and irregular blogs that are still worth bearing in mind despite their sporadic nature.

First off, the newcomers to this list, some of whom might well have been blogging for years but have only just appeared on my limited radar:

Nigel Kent’s blog

Marian Christie’s Poetry and Mathematics

Billy Mills’ Elliptical Movements (from Ireland but also covering the U.K. scene)

Paul Brookes' The Wombwell Rainbow

Tears in the Fence

And now, the regulars:

Fokkina McDonnell’s
Acacia Publications

Mat Riches’
Wear The Fox Hat

Matthew Paul’s blog

Bob Mee’s blog

Tim Love’s

Emma Lee’s blog

Julie Mellor’s blog.

Ama Bolton’s

Wendy Pratt’s blog

Elizabeth Rimmer’s
Burned Thumb

Liz Lefroy’s
I buy a new washer

Martyn Crucefix’s blog

Charles Boyle’s

Josephine Corcoran’s blog

John Foggin’s

RobinHoughton’s blog

Sheenagh Pugh’s
Good God! There’s writing on both sides of that paper!

Caroline Gill’s blog

And to finish off, the irregular bloggers:

Jeremy Wikeley’s new blo

Richie McCaffery’s
The Lyrical Aye

Giles Turnbull’s blog

Chris Edgoose’
Wood Bee Poet

Matt Merritt’s

John Field’s
Poor Rude Lines

Clarissa Aykroyd’s 
The Stone and the Star

AnthonyWilson’s blog

Angela Topping’s blog

Marion McCready’s
Poetry in Progress

Clare Best's blog

And that’s the end of the 2022 list. Oh, and one annual reminder; as mentioned in previous years, I do know that grim feeling of reading through a list, coming to the end and realising you’re not there, so I can only apologise if I’ve missed you out. As one individual reader, I can’t keep up with everyone, and I’d be very grateful for any additional blogs that readers might like to add in the comments that follow this post…

Friday, 16 December 2022

Planet Poetry podcast

I'm the featured poet on this month's Planet Poetry podcast. You can listen to my ramblings, plus a first public reading of two poems from my forthcoming second full collection, via this link.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

My review of Hilary Menos' new pamphlet on Wild Court

Restraint is out of fashion, along with linguistic control. And few poets trust us to probe beyond what’s left unsaid. But these are precisely the qualities that make Hilary Menos’ poetry so convincing.

My review of 'Fear of Forks', Hilary Menos' new pamphlet from HappenStance Press, is now up at Wild Court (read the piece in full via this link).