Monday, December 29, 2008
Poet Adrian Mitchell, 1932 - 2008
"He was a natural pacifist, a playful, deeply serious peacemonger and an instinctive democrat. 'Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people,' he wrote in the preface to his first volume, Poems (1964). For all his strong convictions, he abhorred solemnity. From Red Pepper, a small leftwing magazine, he gleefully accepted a nomination as 'shadow Poet Laureate', and demolished royalty, cultural fashions and pretensions in monthly satirical sallies."
The complete article is here.
One of Mitchell's best-known poems is "To Whom It May Concern," a steady, blistering song-chant about the Vietnam war, written ca. 1964. The poem is online here.
A YouTube video of Mitchell reading the poem is here; Mitchell's reading was part of the Internatonal Poetry Incarnation at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1965. The video excerpt is from Peter Whitehead's film of the reading, "Wholly Communion." The "Related Videos" column on the ride side of the page has links to a number of other videos of Mitchell reading his work.