My guest today is Emma Canning. She writes short stories and poems for womags. She's sold over 30 children's stories in rhyme and almost 100 poems to The People's Friend and has a few tips to share.
Poetry in The People's Friend.
If you’d like to see your poetry published, The People’s Friend is a really good market to try. They use lots of it: there’s often a poem in the weekly magazine and around four in each of the Specials. A further dozen or so go into their annual each year.
Not all accepted poems will necessarily be published in The People’s Friend – some might end up in The Fireside Book (which contains around 60 poems alongside beautiful paintings and little inspirational thoughts) or in The Friendship Book – both are DC Thomson annuals.
If you write for, or read, The Friend, you’ll already be familiar with the type of themes they’ll consider. They accept poetry on a wide range of subjects but – as with their fiction – it must be uplifting. Their poetry guidelines can be found here.
They welcome humour as well as the more thoughtful type of poem. I’ve written verses about technology, fitness, travel, flowers, pets, cakes, knitting, friendship, memories and crafts, as well as about the little quirks of life. I’ve also used emotional themes, such as the joy of a new grandchild or a long, happy marriage. Some poems feel like miniature stories!
Friend readers have a wide range of interests, and I often get ideas for poems from the magazine’s articles or adverts. Seasonal verses also go down well and The Friend will accept these at any time of year, so don’t worry about sending in a spring poem if spring has just passed – if they like it, they’ll hang on to it for next year.
Unlike the fiction process, The People’s Friend pay for poems when they’re about to publish them rather than on acceptance – the number of poems they use in the magazines depends on space available, so these slots can’t be planned months in advance. This means you might wait a long time to be paid and to see your poem in print, or it might appear within weeks (it’s a nice surprise when that happens!)
As the guidelines state, they don’t usually have room for more than 30 lines of text, and the poems they publish are often much shorter than this (mine are generally between 80 and 200 words). They tend to use mainly rhyming verse (and if you’re stuck for a rhyme, this site is brilliant.
Of course, it’s always best to study the market to check the kind of verses they currently feature, but to get you started, here are a couple of mine that The Friend have published previously. Hope you enjoy them!
LARKS AND OWLS
Some people are like larks, and wake up early,Before the cockerel’s even finished crowing –
They leap out of their beds, invigorated,
All bright-eyed and quite eager to get going!
But other folk prefer the evening hours –
These ‘owls’ are more productive late at night.
They need to set a very loud alarm clock,
And wouldn’t dream of rising till it’s light!
Of course, we all adapt to life’s requirements:
Our waking time depends on our routine.
And every person’s body clock is different –
We’re ‘larks’ or ‘owls’ or something in between!
I’m wondering which group I now fall into –
A lark? An owl? I simply cannot choose.
I realize as I doze off by the fireside…
These days, my body clock is set to ‘snooze’!
THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
And sweet forget-me-not;
Delicate wild strawberry
In a quiet, shady spot.
Lawns of grass and clover
From which little cowslips peep,
And buttercups and daisies form
A carpet, soft and deep.
Lady’s smock and foxgloves,
Stately lupins, grand and tall;
Poppies and red campion –
I love to see them all.
Ragged robin, chicory,
Toadflax and celandine…
Their seeds borne over gardens
Till they settled here, in mine.
Uncultivated; beautiful –
My wildflower display…
I didn’t choose or plant them,
But they grew and they can stay.