Poetry News

Ask a Poet! James Carter at The Independent

By Harriet Staff


The questions that you've always wanted to see a children's poet to answer, asked by The Independent's Rebecca Davies and answered by children's poet James Carter at the Children's Book Blog!

This week, I’m delighted to welcome a poet onto the children’s book blog for the first time. The poet in question is James Carter, who has published no fewer than 10 volumes of poetry for children and recently took part in the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour.

James regularly visits schools up and down the UK, inspiring pupils and teachers alike with his unique blend of poetry and Beatles-influenced guitar music.

So what’s it like being a poet and exactly how does one become one? I asked James – and got a free poem into the bargain!

How did you become a poet?

Very slowly! I’ve always loved music and language. As a boy I read Tintin books and comics and information books. I couldn’t read enough of them!

I also loved listening to my little records – all my Beatles 45s – I played them non-stop. I bought my first guitar at the age of 15 and within hours I started writing songs – lyrics (lyrics and poems are actually very similar!) and music. I played guitar and wrote songs in bands for years. And to this day I still write and perform instrumental guitar music.

Later on, after university, I began writing poems. Quite quickly – and luckily! – I became published. Within five years, my first poetry collection, Cars Stars Electric Guitars (Walker Books) appeared.

What drew you towards writing poetry for children?

I was working with children as a teacher at the time I began writing. I had previously done two degrees at university, in Children’s Literature. Anyway, I much prefer writing for children as you can be more playful, and that’s fundamental to me, plus I find writing for children gives me greater freedom as a writer.

Writing itself is all about being playful, being creative, exploring the possibilities of words – playing with their sounds, their rhythms, repetitions, meanings and so on.

And being a parent has also helped me greatly as a poet. Watching my two daughters grow up has been such a fantastic experience for me and has given me so many ideas for poems. [...]

Read more at The Independent