Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008)

Sadly, I’ve just heard English poet, playwright and children’s writer, Adrian Mitchell, has passed away.

“I want to speak, to sing to total strangers.  It’s my way of talking to the world or a small part of it.  So I use the language I use to my friends.  They wouldn’t believe me if I used some high flown literary language.  I want them to believe me.”

- Adrian Mitchell (in an interview with Nick Watson originally published in The Argotist magazine in February 1996.)

News about Adrian Mitchell on Bloodaxe’s website here.

Watch Adrian Mitchell reading “Telephone”, “Especially When It Snows” and “Death is Smaller Than I Thought” here.

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Ted Hughes on Adrian Mitchell:

“Adrian Mitchell is no more naive than Stevie Smith, but like her he has the innocence of his own experience … real inner freedom and the courage of his own music.  Among all the voices of the Court, a voice as welcome as Lear’s fool … Humour that can stick deep and stay funny.”

John Berger on Adrian Mitchell:

“Nobody else writes like him.  And it is becoming more and more evident that his achievement endures … Nobody has ever departed with such language for such a destination … Mitchell is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner, an epigrammist, a man of passion and imagination … Against the present British state he opposes a kind of revolutionary populism, bawdiness, wit and the tenderness sometimes to be found between animals.”

Angela Carter on Adrian Mitchell:

“Joyous, acrid and demotic tumbling lyricist Pied Piper determinedly singing us away from catastrophe.”

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Read more about Adrian Mitchell here.

Listen to Adrian Mitchell’s audio recordings at The Poetry Archive.

An interview with Adrian Mitchell at The Poetry Archive.

Adrian Mitchell reads his famous poem protesting the Vietnam war,”To Whom It May Concern”, here.

5 thoughts on “Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008)

  1. Michelle Post author

    Thinking of his lines from “Celia, Celia” always makes me smile:

    When I am sad and weary
    When I think all hope has gone
    When I walk along High Holborn
    I think of you with nothing on

  2. Alice B

    He was Poet in Residence when I was at Lancaster University, and he generated so much energy, such fun, such politics – an inspiration. ‘Celia, Celia’ makes me smile, too.

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