Writer Of The Week: Marian Cleworth

writer of the week

Meet our latest Writer of the Week — “Friend” poet, Marian Cleworth.

You can enjoy her latest poem, “Dancing Fountains”, in our August 19 Special.

Where did the idea for “Dancing Fountains” come from? What inspired you?

“Dancing Fountains” was inspired by a magical moment on holiday in Mijas, Spain. The sheer exuberance and joy of two small children at play was infectious . . . the poem almost danced itself on to the page!

It had to be short to reflect a snapshot in time, yet long enough to convey the message that we are all children at heart, and can keep that zest for life and spirit of fun even if we can’t always splash in fountains!

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What hurdles have you faced along the way?

When I was seven, my teacher read us a poem every day. I loved stories but this was different — the pattern of sounds, the language, the rhythm. I was hooked!

From then on, I wanted two things: to own my own poetry book, and to be a writer. I was writing poetry by my mid-teens and haven’t stopped since. And I did get a poetry book for my eighth birthday!

With a young family and a full-time job, one hurdle was finding the time to write. I once scribbled a poem down while I was waiting for the potatoes to boil! It’s been so much easier since I retired!

The biggest hurdle was getting my poetry published.

Opportunities were very limited in the past, and although I was delighted to have short stories published, I had to think outside the box to get my poetry heard.

I wrote poems for my church magazine, and consequently received requests to speak at ladies’ meetings. Success in local Writers’ Club competitions followed.

A few years ago, a close friend advised me to send a poem to “The People’s Friend”. It was sheer joy to receive my first acceptance!

You’ve been a member of your local Writer’s Club since the 90s! What keeps you coming back?

I love it! It’s great to meet with fellow writers. Reading work aloud and receiving constructive feedback is hugely beneficial.

When I first joined, the founder of our club — a published writer — was kind enough to mentor me.

Now, as club secretary, I enjoy nurturing the talent of today’s members.

Do you have a preferred time of day for writing? Or are you more flexible?

I prefer the morning, ideally, as I find it easier to concentrate then.

Having said that, I’ll often jot down a rough outline of a poem throughout the day, if a good line comes into my head!

Notebook and pencil, or laptop? Kitchen table, or study? Blank wall, or inspiring view? 

I use notebook and pen for the first draft, as the words seem to flow better on paper. I carry a small notebook in my handbag to jot down ideas or magical moments!

My desktop computer is essential for further drafts and editing. when it comes to switching lines around or changing words, it’s brilliant to see a poem taking final shape on the screen.

The bedroom I had as a child is now our study. The view of the garden is beautiful, but my desk faces the wall, so I can have inspiration or concentration as I need it. I am very fortunate.

And a P.S. – What’s your top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?

  1. Write from the heart. If you feel the emotional pull, so will your reader.
  2. Read widely and write regularly and often.
  3. Join a writers’ club.
  4. Never give up! You are a writer – believe it!

For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.