Adrian Mitchell

Come On Everybody

Poems 1953-2008

Adrian Mitchell

Publication Date : 25 Oct 2012

ISBN: 9781852249465

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Come On Everybody brings together poems from a dozen collections published by Adrian Mitchell over five decades, from Poems (1964) to Tell Me Lies (2008).

His poetry’s simplicity, clarity, passion and humour show his allegiance to a vital, popular tradition embracing William Blake as well as the ballads and the blues. His most nakedly political poems – about war, Vietnam, prisons and racism – became part of the folklore of the Left, sung and recited at demonstrations and mass rallies. His childlike questioning was a constant reminder from the 60s onwards that poetry is first and foremost an assertion of the human spirit.

A pacifist prophet who remained true to his heartfelt beliefs, Mitchell reported back for over half a century from a world blighted by war, compromise, double-talk and pragmatism without losing his innocence, integrity and impish sense of humour. Angela Carter described him as a ‘joyous, acrid and demotic tumbling lyricist Pied Piper determinedly singing us away from catastrophe’.

‘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’ – Ted Hughes.

‘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’ – John Berger.

‘Explosive energy, well-directed rage, undimmed idealism, a tremendous sense of how poetry can speak directly, and an innocence which is believable because it is wise’ – Andrew Motion.

'This is Adrian Mitchell, the British Mayakovsky' - Kenneth Tynan.


Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008)

We compiled this video on hearing of Adrian's death in December 2008. Here he reads three poems, 'Telephone', 'Especially When It Snows' and 'Death Is Smaller Than I Thought'. The film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley, which includes nine poems read by Adrian from different books, all now included in Come On Everybody.


ADRIAN MITCHELL: Tell me lies about Iraq... (2008)

Here Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008) reads what he called the 21st-century remix of his famous protest poem 'To Whom It May Concern (Tell me lies about Vietnam)'. He first read this poem at an anti-Vietnam War protest in Trafalgar Square in 1964, and kept changing the last verse. The poem appears in both the original and the later version in Adrian's big retrospective Come On Everybody: Poems 1953-2008, published on 25 October 2012, his 80th birthday. This video is from the Bloodaxe DVD-book In Person, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley.


ADRIAN MITCHELL: Tell me lies about Vietnam... (1965)

And here is Adrian reading the original version of 'To Whom It May Concern (Tell me lies about Vietnam)' at the International Poetry Incarnation in the Royal Albert Hall in London on 11 June 1965. This from Peter Whitehead's film Wholly Communion.


ADRIAN MITCHELL: About the Child Murderer Marie Farrar (2008)

Adrian Mitchell reading his version of Brecht's 'About the Child Murderer Marie Farrar' at the Marxism 2008 political festival in London on 5 July 2008.







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