THE HUMAN CAGE
Poems by Elma Mitchell
Elma Mitchell was born at Airdrie, Scotland in 1919. She is a professional librarian and has worked in broadcasting, publishing and journalism in London, but is now living in Somerset where she works as a free-lance writer and translator. This is her second collection. Her first collection, The Poor Man in the Flesh (1976), was a runner up in The Arts Council of Great Britain and Provincial Booksellers’ Fairs Association Poetry Award for 1977. In the same year Elma Mitchell was one of the five £200 first-prize winners in the Cheltenham Festival of Literature Poetry Competition.
From the reviews of ‘The Poor Man In The Flesh’:
‘Elma Mitchell’s The Poor Man In The Flesh is surely one of the most compassionate, down-to-earth, feminine – not feminist – collections to appear in the last year.’
Anne Stevenson / The Listener (1976)
I particularly admire Elma Mitchell for her movement and energy, her marvellous inventiveness and her extraordinary intelligence.’
Benedict Nightingale / Critics’ Forum, BBC Radio 3
‘. . . as a whole [The Poor Man In The Flesh] is intelligent, witty, rhythmically skilful and moving far, far beyond the ordinary level of poems in magazines or indeed between covers . . . That a poet so obviously and generously talented should not have been encouraged by a major publisher is regrettable, and means that this collection is not likely to penetrate to many bookshops. I can only say that readers will not regret the effort involved in ordering it by post.’
Julian Symons / The Sunday Times
Good Old Days
My neck, where love ran
Just under the skin
Is now an old rickety ladder to the brain.
My breasts, a full delight
For child and man,
To carry rival jewels,
Dangle now untidy,
The wishbone of my legs
Has changed their wishes’ destination,
Shin repeats to shin,
Welcome, death, you may come in.
I should be cheerless
As a crow in winter fields
When the light is going
But up here, at the top of the spine, behind the eyes,
Curtained a little, but not blind,
Sits a young and laughing mind
Wondering which part of me is telling lies.
THE HUMAN CAGE
Price £1.95 per copy
Cover illustration: Drawing by Nurit; © 1977 The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.
Publication: DECEMBER 1979 (64 pages laminated paperback).