Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009





People Etcetera: Poems New & Selected



Original Cover Price:



oems by Elma Mitchell


Elma Mitchell was born at Airdrie, Scotland in 1919. She has worked as a professional librarian as well as in broadcasting, publishing and journalism in London, and as a free-lance writer and translator. People Etcetera contains many new poems, together with a selection of the best poems from two out-of-print earlier collections, The Poor Man in the Flesh (Peterloo Poets 1976), and The Human Cage (Peterloo Poets 1979). No poems are included from her third collection Furnished Rooms (Peterloo Poets, 1983), which, at the time this volume was released, was still available. Elma Mitchell was a first-prize winner in the Cheltenham Festival Poetry Competition in 1977.

Elma Mitchell’s individual Peterloo Collections were widely praised:

“intelligent, witty, rhythmically  skilful and moving.”
                                        Julian Symons, Sunday Times

“I particularly admire Elma Mitchell for her movement and energy, her marvellous inventiveness and her extraordinary intelligence.”
                             Benedict Nightingale, Critics’ Forum, BBC Radio 3

“Elma Mitchell has the rare ability of making tough, compassionate and compelling verse out of the minutiae of domestic existence by linking the apparently trivial with the most urgent human concerns.”
Shirley Toulson, British Book News


I’m Middling, Thank You

Oh, the middle, the middle’s the right place for me,
Thirty-eight round the hips, voting Lib/SDP,
My job is the devil; my God’s C. of E.
I believe in His weather, on His BBC.

I’m neither a saint nor excessively vile,
My style has no life, and my life has no style.
No marathon runner, I manage a mile,
I won’t love you for ever - but quite a long while.

I plod after fashions, but never set trends,
Don’t know who matters, but still, I have friends,
My means may be golden - I’m frayed at the ends,
I accept, with loud grumbles, whatever God sends.

My successes were modest, and few, and belated.
I was neither adored nor distinctively hated.
My silver’s not solid, but just silver-plated.
My sexual urges are now dehydrated.

No crazes, no phrases, not hooked nor enthused,
Occasionally beery, nor thoroughly boozed,
Not acid, quite placid, not totally tee-
I’m reasonably happy - and dull as can be.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: detail from Adam Announcing His Death, part of the larger fresco, The Death of Adam, by Piero della Francesca. (Church of San Francesco, Arezzo, Tuscany).
Publication: AUTUMN 1987 (86 pages laminated paperback)