Today we have a chat to one of the “Friend’s” favourite poets, George Hughes.
How long have you been writing poetry?
I have always enjoyed reading poetry from schooldays in the 1950s, but I only started to write down my feelings about the beauty of nature around me in my middle age, which in time grew into penning simple verse. I write in a straightforward form such that I wish readers to readily understand my words without looking for hidden meanings, as well as to feel and appreciate them.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The majority of my poems are about the natural world and I suppose I am a nature poet. I live in the countryside so the changing seasons, the flowers, the birds and the trees are more than enough for any sensitive soul. I see beauty in all the seasons and the cycle of life through God’s creation, including our own, which is amazing.
Who are some of your favourite poets?
Thomas Hardy is my favourite author of both poems and stories. I have all of his many work and my favourite poem is “The Darkling Thrush”, which offers remarkable hope and promise of rebirth in nature against what appears to be the darkest time. Hardy had an amazing understanding and sensitivity about all life, humanity and the natural world. Other favourite poets are William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti.
Did you enjoy poetry and writing at school?
I enjoyed reading poetry at school and recall learning off by heart Wordsworth’s lovely poem “The Daffodils”. I remember picturing that beautiful Lake District scene, especially of course as daffodils are also a great favourite here in Wales. Whilst English Literature was my favourite subject throughout my schooldays, writing was mainly confined to the occasional set short story or essays analysing major characters in the classics.
What other writing do you enjoy?
In later life, in addition to poetry, I have revisited my interest in short stories. I recall picking up a copy of “The Peoples Friend” in a waiting room and realised that I enjoyed reading the gentle simple tales about ordinary characters and wondered if I might try some myself. This has been spread over a number of years, but I have just been fortunate to have my third submission success.
What are your future writing plans?
To continue writing poems and short stories for as long as I am able and my considerable and continuing pleasure, whilst enjoying the wonders of nature all around me.
What advice would you give someone hoping to be published in the “Friend”?
Regards poems for the “Friend”, express your feelings about the chosen subject such that the reader feels those sentiments themselves as they absorb your words. I believe that poems are best to be lyrical, rhythmical and easy to read with an even balance throughout. In my case, I like poems to rhyme and I am less keen on prosaic works. As is the case with short stories, subject matter should not in any way be unpleasant or controversial but generally in a setting of everyday recognisable family or community life. Regards short stories for the “Friend”, be mindful that your main characters whilst being ethically strong, must be kind and gentle people in the genre of the magazine. Adventures and dramas are probably best avoided in favour of a brief but engaging series events in the characters’ lives. They must themselves speak the story in dialogue and avoid the author telling the story. The reader should always feel happy and reconciled with the story’s conclusion.