~ Posted by Georgia Grimond, February 12th 2013
For our ninth Big Question, we asked six writers to choose their favourite month. When we opened the debate online, it was A.D. Miller’s choice, May, that went into the lead. It’s a month, he wrote, where "everything is possible". At the close of the poll, 17% of voters had been seduced.
Four months tied on 10%. For some it was the advent of winter that was attractive. October, described by Kathleen Jamie as a time for hunkering down and celebrating the otherworld, won the same number of votes as September, even though it wasn't chosen by any of our contributors. But April’s tempo, which appealed to James Lasdun in upstate New York—"the one month that neither drags nor rushes"—scored just as well. So did the "still afternoons and bone-deep heat" of July, picked by the poet and novelist John Burnside.
December came further down the leaderboard: for Charles Nevin, this was a month of "compelling contrasts" and "glittering frost icing dark branches". It collected 9% of the vote. Ann Wroe found our calendar a "dull march of gods, emperors and numerals", so she chose the second month of the French revolutionary calendar, Brumaire, calling it the "quintessence of autumn". All but six voters preferred their months Gregorian.
Readers tended to be swayed by their location. Luisa Pinto in Portugal cheered August for the holidays it brings. For Katerina Varsikova in Brussels, the choice was too hard. "The greedy me would pick them all," she said. "I am in love with the seasons changing."
Months may be nothing without those around them, but in this poll it was the darling buds of May that bloomed brightest.
Georgia Grimond is letters editor for Intelligent Life