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Adrian Mitchell books


British poet and playwright Adrian Mitchell died last week at the age of 76, reports The Guardian.

I met him in 1962 at one such reading, for Arnold Wesker’s Centre 42 arts festivals for working- class audiences. He leapt on stage in a many coloured coat like a Blakean challenger and a rock’n’roll hero. He had fine music-hall timing, and a gravity under all the quickfire jokes and patter. He began to bring out a steady flow of poetry volumes, from Out Loud (1968) to Tell Me Lies (it will be published next year) – 15 books of free, syncopated, carnivalesque poems about love, war, children, politicians, pleasure, music. ‘He breathed in air/He breathed out light/ Charlie Parker was my delight.’

With their zany Ralph Steadman covers, these books quickened the reader’s imagination. Opening a new one was like an invitation to a party where the dancing never stopped. “He has the innocence of his own experience,” said Ted Hughes; “the British Mayakovsky,” said Kenneth Tynan; “the kind of tenderness sometimes to be found between animals,” wrote John Berger.

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