Paul Potts (writer)

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This article is about the author of Dante Called You Beatrice. For the British tenor, see Paul Potts. For the genocidal leader of Cambodia, see Pol Pot.

Paul Hugh Howard Potts (19 July 1911 – 26 August 1990), a British-born poet of Canadian extraction,[1] was the author of Dante Called You Beatrice (1960), a memoir of unrequited love.[2]

Born in Datchet, Berkshire[3] to a Canadian father and an Irish mother, Potts was educated in Canada, England and Italy, but from the early 1930s he lived in London. He frequented the Soho-Fitzrovia area where he would sell broadsheet copies of his poetry in the streets and pubs.[4][5]

Among Potts's literary friends were George Orwell and the English poet George Barker.[6][7][8] Potts's memoir of Orwell, "Don Quixote on a Bicycle", appeared in The London Magazine in 1957[9][10] and became a chapter of Dante Called You Beatrice. His 1948 essay “The World of George Barker” appeared in Poetry Quarterly.[11]


  • (1940) A Poet's Testament, with drawings by Cliff Bayliss and Scott MacGregor, foreword by Hugh MacDiarmid
  • (1944) Instead of a Sonnet (enlarged 1978)
  • (1960) Dante Called You Beatrice
  • (1970) To Keep A Promise
  • (1973) Invitation to a Sacrament
  • (2006) Ronald Caplan (ed.), George Orwell's Friend: Selected Writings by Paul Potts

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Potts is often called a Canadian, for example by Ronald Caplan in George Orwell's Friend which has him "born in British Columbia", but other sources - including the Times obituary - give his birthplace as Datchet in the UK.
  2. ^ Paul Potts, Dante Called You Beatrice, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1960
  3. ^ Datchet was at that time in Buckinghamshire
  4. ^ "Paul Potts - Obituary", The Times, London, 29 August 1990
  5. ^ Peter Stothard, "Soho, ring-marked and a little soiled", TLS blog, 2 March 2008, retrieved 7 February 2013
  6. ^ Taylor, D. J., Orwell: The Life, Henry Holt and Company, 2003, passim
  7. ^ Meyers, Jeffrey (ed.), Introduction to George Orwell, Routledge, 1975, p.20
  8. ^ Crick, Bernard. George Orwell: A Life, Penguin, 1982, passim
  9. ^ Rodden, John, George Orwell: The Politics of Literary Reputation, Oxford University Press, 1989, rev. 2002, pp 128-129
  10. ^ Rodden, John, The Unexamined Orwell, University of Texas Press, 2011, p.222
  11. ^ Warren, Richard, "Paul Potts on ‘The World of George Barker’", nd, blog post; retrieved 12 February 2013

Further reading[edit]