Writer Of The Week: Pamela Blood

photo of writer of the week Pamela Blood

Our writer of the week is poet Pamela Blood!

You can read her uplifting poem ‘Insurance’ in The Friendship Book 2023.

Your poem ‘Insurance’ is only eight lines long, but it inspires so much positivity. Is it challenging to write short poems?

Yes, it can be challenging to write a short poem that will say all you want it to say, but it is excellent writing discipline.

Most poems need to be worked on a little. However, sometimes, just sometimes, a poem will run off the end of my pen and land on the page fully formed and complete and I can’t explain how that happens.

Why do you like writing poetry? Do you stick to poems, or do you enjoy other forms of writing as well?

I like writing poetry because it offers me a way to express feelings and explore experiences in a way that gets right to the heart of the matter. I have done this since I was very young. I also journal and I have tried writing short stories.

In my working life as a health care chaplain (lay), I wrote reflections for chapel services, eulogies, prayers and blessings. These days in retirement I mostly write poetry.

What do you hope that readers get from your poems?

Firstly, I hope they enjoy the poem, the sound of the words and the images the poem conveys. Then I hope there is something in the poem that resonates with their own experience. Perhaps just a line or a few words that give affirmation, pleasure, encouragement.

Which writers and/or poets do you admire, and why?

I have a large scrapbook of poems from the “Friend” and it gives me great pleasure to look through it from time to time. Maggie Ingall is a favourite, and I also enjoy her “On Reflection” pieces. I enjoy very much her explorations of what I call ‘the sacred in the ordinary’.

My favourite of the modern poets is Mary Oliver. She has wonderful insight into our common human experiences. The last lines of ‘The Summer Day‘ stayed with me for days after I first heard them:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Patience Strong was an early favourite and I still consider ‘If You Stand Very Still‘ one of the best little poems ever.

My very favourite poem is ‘Jenny Kiss’d Me‘ by Leigh Hunt. It is only short but says all that needs saying.

Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, Edwina Gateley, Jan Richardson, John O’Donohue, are a few of the many poets I admire.

Writers I admire are Sally Vickers, Victoria Hislop and Geraldine Brooks to name just a few.

Tastes do change over the years however and not all old favourites continue to be enjoyed. L. M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Georgette Heyer, are mostly still worth a visit.

If you could go back in time, what writing advice would you give to yourself?

Persevere. Trust your instincts but learn to be very critical so that your finished piece is the very best that you can do. Enjoy your writing and take pleasure in the creative process. Understand that this is something that comes from within and only you can write this particular piece in this particular way.

If you could read one book again for the first time, which would it be? 

One book? I will answer with “Persuasion” by Jane Austen. How lovely to be reading that for the first time! It still holds up well.

What’s your top tip for aspiring “Friend” poets?

Write from the heart, be sincere and work at it until your poem says just what you want it to say. Then send it off to Abbie.

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.