About James Carter

James loves to write poems about all sorts of unusual things from aliens to woolly mammoths, ghosts to garden sheds. Some of his poems sound like nursery rhymes with lines repeated, some take the form of question and answer and others have choruses in them like songs – perfect for joining in with. They are very good to learn and easy to remember.

He loves to bring the feeling of fun and play to his poems and often explores dreams and other ways of getting his imagination firing. He likes to get into mischief, too, as you will hear in the very naughty ‘What Did You Do At School Today?’ Best not to try that one at home!

James reads his poems with a great understanding of the music of his words, whether enjoying the assonance in a poem like ‘Splish Splash Splosh!’ or changing the pace and pitch of his voice to let rhymes and repetitions work their magic on the listener’s ear.

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James’s poems are full of daydreams and music. They’re often highly playful but beneath their fun have a little extra message to think about, one which takes you into more grown up ideas about life and the imagination.

His topics range far and wide and he uses lots of different forms: rhymes, free verse, haikus, kennings, conversational and list poems. Repetition is a key device in James’s poems, part of what makes them so memorable.

The poems often have a sing-song lilt and James follows his own quote in saying a lot in not, generally, very long poems. While they may be short each one feels perfectly designed and finished and because they’re easy to remember you’ll find yourself saying them to yourself for days after.

James was born in Reading in 1959 and lives in Oxfordshire.

He has won awards for his work and is a guitarist and writer-in-schools. He is also a composer of guitar and piano music. He began writing when he was working as a Lecturer at Reading University.

James has four guitars, all called Keith, and he often takes one of them with him when he gives readings. As a boy he read comics and Tintin books and he thinks that reading all sorts of things, from novels to comics and non-fiction, is really important if you want to be a writer.

He often writes his poems on trains in-between visits to schools.

James thinks you should write at home, just for you, and write what you want to write. Do a bit every day if you can.
He says he gets his ideas from the ‘magic wood at the back of his house’ and the magic wood is really your imagination.

James's recording was made on 28 August and 10 December 2012 at Attic Attack, Bristol and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Featured in the Archive

Selected Bibliography

Grr!: Dinos, Dragons and Other Beastie Creatures, Pan Macmillan, 2013

How To Turn Your Teacher Purple! And Other Sizzling..., A&C Black Childrens, 2011

Hey Little Bug! Poems for Little Creatures, Frances Lincoln, 2011

Journey to the Centre of My Brain, Macmillan, 2011

Greetings Earthlings!: Space Poems, Macmillan, 2007

Time-Travelling Underpants, Macmillan, 2007