Raymond Carr

The teddy bares his teeth

Ever since he could read and write John Betjeman felt himself destined to become a poet. Later he wrote, ‘I have always preferred it [poetry], knowing that its composition was my vocation and that anything else I wrote has been primarily a means of earning money in order to write poetry.’

Already a subscriber? Log in

Election special offer

The stage is set. Grab a front-row seat with The Spectator. Subscribe and get 3 months for just £3 – plus a free election mug.

  • Weekly delivery of the magazine
  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Our online archive, going back to 1828


Want to join the debate?

Only subscribers can comment. Sign up and – in the run-up to the election – you’ll get the next three months for just £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in