Adrian Mitchell

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Adrian Mitchell (born 24 October 1932, Haywards Heath, West Sussex) is an English poet and dramatist. It has been said that his work demonstrates a powerful social conscience and he has been described as the "shadow poet laureate."

Mitchell's voice is deceptively simple, but there is a subtlety in his apparent lack of showy technique.

He has written large numbers of love poems and political poems, and frequently does public readings for Left wing causes. Searing satire is his speciality. Asked by the establishment to write a poem about the Prince of Wales and his special relationship with the people of Wales, he contributed the short masterpiece : "Royalty is a neurosis./ Get well soon."

He is in the habit of writing in the prologue of his collections of poems "None of the work in this book is to be used in connection with any examination whatsoever." Once a poem was used in a GCSE exam anyway. He agreed to let it go providing he was allowed to sit the exam anonymously (he failed!).

Perhaps his best known poem is To Whom it May Concern, about the Vietnam war, which was first read in Trafalgar Square in 1964. A revised version, referring not only to Vietnam, but also to Iraq and Venezuela was read at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 September 2005 as part of the Poetry Olympics Twenty05 Festival, organised by Michael Horovitz.


  • 1961 Eric Gregory Award
  • 1966 PEN Translation Prize
  • 1971 Tokyo Festival Television Film Award
  • 2005 CLPE Poetry Award (shortlist) for Daft as a Doughnut
  • Adrian Mitchell at
  • The Argotist interview
  • To Whom it May Concern
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