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Poetry and verse written by J.L. Carr


J.L. Carr loved poetry: he published the work of 60 poets as small books; he was able to recite long passages of poems; and he modelled the character of Hetty in What Hetty Did on the young Carr, who loved the poetry of Robert Browning. He also wrote some poems, a few of which have been published..


Personal notebook, 1933-36

His sister, Kathleen (Kathie) England Carr, kept all her younger brother's letters to her and saved his letters to their parents and to his sister Ethel. She also saved photographs of JLC, a school diary for 1925, and a small notebook, all of which are now held by the West Yorkshire Archive in Leeds. The notebook dates from between 1933 and at least 1936 because there are two addresses in the front, one in Bitterne in Hampshire and one in Edgbaston in Birmingham. The notebook contains reminders about school lessons; some ideas perhaps for stories; a list of places to be visited on a cycling tour of the West Country; some pen and ink drawings including a very good one of a cowboy on a horse; the address and price per 1000 words of a typing service; and some verses, most unfinished.


Pasque Petals, volume 13, March, 1939, pages 275 and 280.

While Carr was teaching in Huron in the school year of 1938-39 he had two poems published in this magazine. They were entitled:

As I went down to Woonsocket

Purbeck Isle


Woonsocket is the county seat of Sanborn County in South Dakota, USA, a town of about 650 people. It is named after a town in Rhode Island.

The Isle of Purbeck is a peninsula in Dorset, southern England. Carr must have visited the area when he was teaching in his first school after graduating, in Bitterne, near Southampton, between 1933 and 1935.

Pasque Petals is the journal of the South Dakota State Poetry Society. It was first published in May 1926 and is the oldest poetry journal in continuous publication in the United States National Federation of State Poetry Societies.

[I thank Jennifer Littlefield of Huron Public Library for telling me about the Sixty Year Comprehensive Index of Pasque Petals, 1926-1986, on the South Dakota Digital Archives. I also thank Michele Christian of South Dakota State University for sending me a scan of the poems.]


The Battle of Birmingham, written in Birmingham in 1940, published in Kettering in about 1966.

When Carr was teaching at Hastings Road School in Birmingham in 1940 while waiting to be called up, he wrote on the blackboard short verses that he had made up for children to copy and practice their handwriting. He kept the exercise book of the child with the best handwriting and found it again in 1966 when he published the poems as The Battle of Birmingham.


Some early poems and recent drawings by J.L. Carr, 1912-1994.

This small book was published in 1994 by Carr's son and daughter-in-law after his death, in commemoration. It contains 16 poems, some of which probably appeared in The Battle of Birmingham. Others are dated between 1930, when he was 18, and 1945, aged 33. This small book is available from the Quince Tree Press.