Our writer of the week is poet Heather Walker.
You can read her poem, ‘The Artist Known As A’, in The Fireside Book 2023.
Your poem ‘The Artist Known As A’ is very sweet and will be relatable to many readers! What inspired you to write it?
Having two sons (now grown up), I remember how food would end up everywhere, though they never managed to throw it onto the walls! I used this experience and my love of art to write something light and funny.
When did you start writing poetry? Have you always wanted to be a published writer?
I began writing poetry in my twenties. I suppose even back then I thought it would be nice to have something published because I put all my typed poems into a clip file and called them The First Collection!
Do you enjoy other kinds of writing as well?
As well as poetry, I write short stories and particularly enjoy writing flash fiction and novellas. I’ve written in some form since I was a pre-teen, but with marriage and children, everything took a back seat and I didn’t take writing seriously until I was in my forties.
It has been a long road with lows and highs, but I cannot imagine my life without writing. A highlight for me was the publication of my Novella-in-Flash in November 2021 entitled “Where It Ends” (available through Amazon).
Which poets or authors do you admire most, and why?
I admire many authors, particularly Elly Griffiths whose Ruth Galloway crime series ticks all my boxes.
Poetry-wise I enjoy Carol Ann Duffy and Paul Farley. I also like Gerard Manley Hopkins, whose poetry I studied on a short course some years ago. I love what he does with words and his use of sprung rhythm, which is hard to explain but blows my mind.
Do you keep a notebook of ideas or write when the mood takes you?
Notebooks are essential and I have many of them. I always carry something to write on, but have been known to use backs of envelopes and receipts.
Ideas come out of the blue sometimes and often they are the easy ones to write. But I don’t wait for inspiration. I use prompts and all kinds of techniques to brainstorm writing.
What is the best book you’ve read this year?
I think it would have to be “The Island of Missing Trees” by Elif Shafak. It was magical and absorbing.
What are your top tips for aspiring “Friend” poets?
Read a variety of poetry and write what you are passionate about. Always read the submission rules and stick to them. Joining a poetry class will also get you feedback on your work.
Get to know our writers and illustrators with our previous interviews.