The Tiny Talent: Selected Poems by Joan Ure

The Tiny Talent

The Tiny Talent. Ref: STA Gen 31


The works of Joan Ure are to be remembered in a new book of selected poems, The Tiny Talent: Selected Poems by Joan Ure. With a foreward by the writer and artist Alasdair Gray, the works have been selected and edited by Richie McCaffery and Alistair Peebles.

The Glasgow lauch of this new selection of her poetry takes place, in her centenary year, at the CCA on Wednesday 12 December 2018, and will feature readings by Jan McDonald and Richie McCaffery. Tickets are priced at £5 (plus £1 surcharge to CCA), this will be refunded against purchase of a copy of the pamphlet, usual price £7.99.

Joan Ure was the pen name of Elizabeth Thomas Clark, born on 22 June 1918 at 31 Fenham Road, Wallsend, new Newcastle upon Tyne, of Scottish parents who moved to Glasgow.  Her father John MacFie Carswell was an engineering draughtsman for Vickers Armstrong.

Joan Ure

Joan Ure. Ref: STA H.j.35

Elizabeth (also known as Betty) was the eldest in a family of two sisters and a brother and spent most of her life in and around Glasgow.  When she was twelve her mother Janet (Jenny) Love Thomson, developed Tuberculosis, and Elizabeth had to take on the role of housewife and surrogate mother to her siblings.  Despite the wishes of her teachers, she left Langside Academy aged fourteen and combined her domestic duties with work as a clerk.  On 15 July 1939 Elizabeth married Glasgow businessman, John Lochhead Clark, with whom she had a daughter Frances, the same year, raising her single-handedly while her husband fought in the Second World War.

Ure wrote essays, prose, poems, short plays, but only one booklet of her writings was published in her lifetime, brought out by Kenneth Roy in 1970.  A later selection, Five Short Plays, was published after her death in 1978.

From a previous post you may be aware of items in MS Morgan D – Correspondence: Named individuals featuring Edwin Morgan’s file of correspondence with Joan Ure.  We also hold material in the Scottish Theatre Archive and have recently received a collection of Ure’s diaries and correspondence. The diaries and correspondence are restricted pending cataloguing. Please enquire in advance regarding access by emailing

Co-founder of the Scottish Society of Playwrights, Elizabeth Clark died of respiratory failure caused by asthma on 24 February 1978 in Ballochmyle Hospital, Mauchline, Ayrshire and was cremated at Linn Crematorium, Glasgow.





Categories: Archives and Special Collections, Library, Special Collections

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