The son of humble and almost illiterate parents, Clare grew up in the Northamptonshire village of Helpston and made the surrounding countryside his world. His formal education, such as it was, ended when he was eleven years old, but this child of the 'unwearying eye' had a thirst for knowledge and became a model example of the self-taught man. As a poet of rural England he has few rivals.
The Society was founded in 1981 to promote a wider and deeper knowledge of this remarkable poet. It currently has about 550 members worldwide. We publish a Newsletter three times a year, and a peer reviewed Journal once a year (received at the end of the subscription year).
On the weekend nearest to Clare's birthdate (July 13th) members and friends gather for our Annual Festival in Helpston, Clare's birthplace. Festival is open to everyone, however: you not have to be a member or a member's guest in order to attend. At the Festival, there is always a variety of Clare books for sale, some published by the Society. The Festival also includes poetry readings, tours, stalls, talks, live entertainment and the Annual General Meeting of the Society. The News and Events section of this website -- see links on the right -- list other Clare related events which we hope will be of interest.
Click on the link over on the right to view details of the Choral Composition Competition held to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of John Clare. The winning entry was from Croatia - Ivan Bozicevic.