Writer of the Week: Karen Taylor

writer of the week

Karen Taylor is our Writer of the Week.

You can find her wonderful Autumn poem in our 2022 Annual. It’s the perfect time to read it for our readers in the southern hemisphere!

For the rest of us, it’s one to look forward to.

What are your biggest sourced of inspiration when it comes to writing poetry?

Nature and a personal faith in God are the two biggest sources.

I find poetry comes naturally in writing as I am a very emotional person and sensitive to what is going on in the world of nature and the people around me. I am a great people watcher too!

I have always found it natural to pour words out on paper in poetic form in most situations in my life.

When do ideas come to you? Do you always keep a notebook handy?

I always have ideas. Life goes on around you and it’s a natural source for extracting ideas and running with them. People watching is a great source for ideas.

I always carry a notebook as ideas literally jump out at me.

I NEVER wake up to write though. Sleep is my time to zone out. I get that from my late mother . . .

Did you write poetry when you were growing up or is it something you discovered later on?

I had an excellent English teacher, Mrs Rudge, back in the seventies when I was at Senior School. I remember adoring writing poetry in those classes and also how much she encouraged me.

I wasn’t a confident child and those times of writing really helped me in my early teens.

Do you write prose fiction as well?

Yes, I write short stories and pocket novels as a way of unpacking my many ideas. I have yet to embark on a full novel though.

Which poet or author (from any time) would you love to meet? What would you talk about?

I know it’s a bit of an obvious choice but I would definitely have to say Enid Blyton. She is the author that captured my imagination in reading and hence writing.

I owe this to my Aunty Jean and Uncle Gordon. One Christmas, they introduced me to the Famous Five books when I was 10 years old. I was hooked from that moment.

I would love to tell Enid Blyton how much the characters both inspired and comforted me when my father died suddenly at an early age.

Escaping with one of her books and running to the characters in those pages was such a comfort. I am deeply grateful to her for her writing.

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

This is the question where we all feel we need to be deeply engrossed in reading the works of literary giants! But I read all sorts . . .

I love Elizabeth Strout, and have just finished her latest novel, “Oh William“. I adore her take on family relationships. She does it best.

Also loving “Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens as well as “Betty” by Tiffany McDaniel.

I have just devoured, for the umpteenth time, “Wind in the Willows” over the recent heatwave. Currently on my bookshelf, waiting for that fresh page to be turned, is “Greenwich Park” by Katharine Faulkner.

As for poetry it really is as diverse as Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Pam Ayres. And you can’t beat Patience Strong for a bit of true inspiration.

Finally, what’s your top tip for an aspiring poet?

Follow your heart.

Yes, read widely and experiment with all forms of writing, but there’s nothing like opening your heart and letting the words flow. It’s like a healing balm to me.

You can always go back and jiggle the words into the poetic form you aspire to, but start with your heart. It will never let you down.

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.