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.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Couple of things
The first six poems have just been published there recently; the others were published in Pemmican sometime back, and are also still available there to read.
Much fine poetry and other writing is in Pemmican. I encourage you to visit and read. The main page for the magazine is here.
I also was very moved by poet Martín Espada's commencement address, titled "The Republic of Poetry," given at Hampshire College in May 2007. It's posted online here, in the Poets Against War website. (The above link is to Espada's piece; the main page for the Poets Against War website is here.)
The Republic of Poetry is also the title of Martín Espada's most recent, and excellent, book of poems. I've written about the book previously, here.