The Shadow Knows
The official elegy for Princess Margaret was the last straw. There had to be an antidote: a poet who would stalk the powerful, the pretentious and the sycophantic. The socialist magazine Red Pepper invited Adrian Mitchell to don the dreaded costume of The Shadow Poet Laureate and write regular people's republican poems for their columns. At a secret midnight ceremony he was decked in the cloak, fedora and blue suede shoes which are the garb of the Shadow. Then he kept popping his head up where he was least wanted by some but most needed by the rest of us, appearing on radio and TV and other platforms to speak for the other side, restoring a radical, subversive voice to the public face of British poetry. Now Adrian Mitchell - in his first new book of poems for four years - tells us not just what the Shadow knows about poetry and politics, peace and war, but what the Man behind the Shadow feels about love and death, and everything else in life from parents and children to dogs, asteroids and the Tellytubbies. Adrian Mitchell is one of Europe's bestselling poets.
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 - have become part of the folklore of the Left, sung and recited at demonstrations and mass rallies.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"'Adrian Mitchell is no more naive than Stevie Smith, but like her 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 'Joyous, acrid and demotic tumbling lyricist Pied Piper determinedly singing us away from catastrophe' - Angela Carter"