Steal Away Boy: Selected Poems of David Mitchell

Edited by Martin Edmond & Nigel Roberts

Steal Away Boy rescues and rehabilitates this lost voice, whose poems remain as alive and vital as ever, exhibiting both bitter comedy and painterly primitivism, with verbal textures that still sing.’ – NZ Listener Top 100 Books 2010


David Mitchell was one of New Zealand’s great poetic characters from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s: poet, lover, political activist, cricketer, impresario, mysterium and, to some, an all-round pain in the arse. Steal Away Boy re-introduces Mitchell to a new generation and collects widely scattered poems in book form for the first time.

A great partisan of poetry in performance, Mitchell initiated readings in various Auckland hotels and was a participant in the famous readings at the Barry Lett Gallery. In 1972 Mitchell’s only full-length collection, Pipe Dreams in Ponsonby, was published and became an instant classic, selling thousands of copies in two editions. It broke new ground and won a Commonwealth literary prize. David Mitchell fully supported the Steal Away Boy project and his private papers and manuscripts have been made available to Edmond and Roberts by his daughter.

In their generous selection of poems and comprehensive introduction, Martin Edmond and Nigel Roberts present afresh the lyrical, beat intensity of an antipodean hipster & iconic poet.


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David Mitchell was born in Wellington in 1940 and died in Sydney in 2011. An associate of poets including James K. Baxter, Peter Bland, Alistair Campbell and Louis Johnson. Mitchell travelled in Europe in the early 1960s and on his return became an active reader and promoter of his own and others’ work in Auckland. His collection Pipe Dreams in Ponsonby, published in 1972, sold out several printings and won a Commonwealth literary prize. He won the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in 1975 and founded Poetry Live! at the Globe Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1980.

Editors Martin Edmond and Nigel Roberts are New Zealand-born residents of Sydney. Edmond is the author of the award-winning Chronicle of the Unsung (AUP), Waimarino County (AUP), Luca Antara and Zone of the Marvellous (AUP). Roberts trained in Auckland as a teacher and is now a Sydney poet and former publisher of Free Poetry.


April 2010, 230 x 145 mm, 256 pages, illustrations
Ebook, $34.99