Writer of the Week: Dawn Lawrence

writer of the week

Poetry Ed Abbie talks to beloved “Friend” poet, and Writer Of The Week, Dawn Lawrence about her work.

You can find some of Dawn’s poetry in The Fireside Book 2021.

Have you always loved to write? When did you know that you wanted to write professionally?

The habit comes from schooldays when I wrote funny poems to make my class laugh! But I also loved essay writing.

I always wanted to write professionally, especially poetry, but since I spent hours reading classical poetry, my verses were much out of date.

Publishers wanted “something original”? What was original?

I spent valuable years trying to find out!

What inspires your poetry? What is your favourite type of poem to write?

The natural world is one of my favourite topics.

I have been a keen conservationist for several years now, responding to particular situations directly as I find them, and this is reflected in my work as a public speaker on the world’s wildlife.

I am fond of allegories which I like to blend into my writing – maybe something I inherited from my Greek mother’s side of the family.

And I don’t try to please a specific audience.

When was your first poem published with us and how did it feel to get your first acceptance?

I have been writing for “The People’s Friend” for almost 20 years now.

I began keeping copies after writing for the Children’s Page and the Features Editor, and the first two copies I found are from 2003 but I didn’t collect work prior to that.

One of the first poems I wrote was “Spectres Of The Mist” (luminous imps of water and air, intent upon teasing).

It was quite delightful to see it in print!

What is the most challenging part of writing a poem for you?

I find that the most challenging part of writing a poem is to arrange the material to fall into rhyme effortlessly, and not appear to be contrived in any way.

Which writer would you love to meet and chat to?

I have long admired the poetic work of Maggie Ingall’s and note that she has been writing for the “Friend” as long as me.

I’m sure we would have much in common

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

I make notes wherever and whenever I get inspiration, and keep a pen and paper by my bedside, since thoughts often come to me quite surprisingly out of the blue.

Nowadays there is much useful information on the TV and elsewhere that gives food for thought.

What’s your one top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?

In my opinion an aspiring Writer of the Week should produce work which has an element of cheerfulness and therefore an uplifting content.

In order words, a positive approach wherever possible.

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.