Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008) was a prolific poet, playwright and children’s writer. His poetry’s simplicity, clarity, passion and humour show his allegiance to a vital, popular tradition embracing William Blake as well as the Border Ballads and the blues. His most nakedly political poems – about nuclear war, Vietnam, prisons and racism – became part of the folklore of the Left, sung and recited at demonstrations and mass rallies.
After Allison & Busby stopped publishing poetry, he took his work to Bloodaxe. Adrian Mitchell’s Greatest Hits: His 40 Golden Greats (1991) was followed by four books covering 50 years of his work: Heart on the Left: Poems 1953-1984 (1997), Blue Coffee: Poems 1985-1996 (1996), All Shook Up: Poems 1997-2000 (2000) and The Shadow Knows: Poems 2000-2004 (2004). Tell Me Lies: Poems 2005-2008 followed from Bloodaxe in 2009. His collected poems for children, Umpteen Pockets (Orchard Books), and Shapeshifters, his version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, illustrated by Alan Lee (Frances Lincoln), were both published in October 2009.
– from Inpress Books UK with permission