Our writer of the week is Sue Claremont. You can read her lovely poem, ‘Precious Pebbles’ in Special 228, on sale now.
What inspired your poem ‘Precious Pebbles’? Do you find you’re inspired by nature a lot?
Nature frequently inspires me.
I wrote rough notes for ‘Precious Pebbles’ on a beach in Cornwall after walking along the coastline. I sat there for a few hours watching the waves rolling over the shore, observing the stones’ colours change when wet. Listening to the sound of surf swishing over these tumbled gems.
I began to scribble away as children nearby built and decorated a sandcastle. My words flowed, literally, as I use a fountain pen.
Living close to the sea means I’ve spent many hours skimming pebbles over ripples, so I added these memories. By the end of the afternoon I had written a few verses, but continued at home.
I’ve always been fond of pebbles and have written a short story about them which is posted on my website.
I’ve painted, and left them in places for people to find, and it’s always an honour to discover more left by others.
Thinking about it now, there is so much extra I could have written about. My bungalow is even called ‘Pebbles’.
When did you start writing poetry? Have you always wanted to be a published poet?
My poetry writing began when I was in my youth, but sadly none of it has survived, although I can still remember some of the subjects. In those days, I wrote the poems in secret.
It didn’t enter my head to be published, but that has changed over the years, as I now love to share my written words with others whenever possible.
Do you write your poems on paper or computer?
When I have an idea for a poem, I scrawl my thoughts into a notebook, as I find that captures the initial concept better. Then transfer to my laptop.
That way, changes are easier until I’m happy with the outcome. Sometimes that takes a while, and I’m thankful for modern technology enabling copying and pasting.
What attracted you to submit your poetry to The People’s Friend?
The tones and themes of poetry, and the illustrations published alongside them in “The People’s Friend” magazines and The Fireside Book have appealed to me for decades.
I wondered if I might be successful if I wrote poems specifically with “Friend” readers in mind and sent some in. And on this occasion, I’m so pleased that I did.
Do you have a favourite poem, or one you turn to often?
My tastes are varied when it comes to reading poetry, so it would be difficult to pinpoint a favourite poem.
I dip into modern and old poetry collections and read content depending on my mood or interests at the time.
Currently, I’m enthralled with John Jermain’s poems written during World War Two which resonate with me because of old family letters that link with them.
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?
I’m a bit of a butterfly when it comes to reading, and at present flitting between poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
Recently, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Ariadne’ by Jennifer Saint, who retells the ancient Greek myth.
As a child, I learnt about other myths aimed at children, so it was satisfying to read one with an adult perspective.
I was captivated from page one until the end and looking forward to reading her next book, ‘Elektra’.
What’s your top tip for aspiring “Friend” poets?
Be familiar with the style of poetry already printed in the “Friend”, taking note of line lengths and the way poems are formatted to stand a better chance of being accepted.
You can read more interviews from our writers and illustrators here.