Patience Agbabi in 2007. Photo by Yemisi Blake. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Patience Agbabi (born 1965) is an English poet and performer with a particular emphasis on the spoken word.[1]

Life Edit


Agbabi was born in London and as a teenager lived in North Wales. Her parents were Nigerians. She studied English Language and Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Agbabi began performing on the London club circuit in 1995. She has cited her influences as including Janis Joplin, Carol Ann Duffy, Chaucer, and various aspects of contemporary music and culture.

Career Edit

Agbabi's debut collection of poetry, R.A.W, was published in 1995

She has performed extensively and also worked in collaboration with other writers. Her work has also been influenced by rap rhythms and wordplay. She was a member of Atomic Lip, which has been described as "poetry's first pop group". They worked together from 1995 to 1998 and their last tour, Quadrophonix, in 1998 merged live and video performance. In 1996 she worked on a performance piece called FO(U)R WOMEN, with Adeola Agbebiyi and Dorothea Smartt, given its debut performance at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

As well as performing in Britain she has also undertaken reading tours of Namibia, the Czech Republic, Zimbabwe, Germany and Switzerland, working with the British Council. She took part in Modern Love, a spoken-word event exploring love and modern relationships, which toured the UK and Switzerland.

Her poetry has been featured on television and radio, including the Channel 4 series Litpop in 1998 and on the children's programme Blue Peter in 1999.

Her book, Transformatrix, was published in 2000 and is a commentary on contemporary Britain which draws inspiration from popular music forms.

Agabi has taught and run workshops and also been poet in residence at various places ranging from Oxford Brookes University to a London tattoo and piercing studio. She has an MA in Creative Writing, the Arts and Education from the University of Sussex and in September, 2002 was appointed Associate Creative Writing Lecturer at the University of Wales, Cardiff.


Although her poetry is hard-hitting in addressing contemporary themes, her work often makes use of strong formal constraints, including traditional poetic forms. She has described herself as 'bi-cultural' and bisexual,[2] and issues of racial, sexual, and gender identity are important in her poetry.


Agbabi's debut collection of poetry, R.A.W, received the Excelle Literary Award in 1997.

In 2000, she was one of 10 poets commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to write a poem for National Poetry Day.

In 2004, she was named a Next Generation poet.[3]

Her poem "The Doll's House" was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Single Poem for 2014.[3]



  • R.A.W.. London: Izon Amazon / Gecko Press, 1995.
  • Transformatrix. Edinburgh: Canongate Books / Payback Press, 2000.
  • Bloodshot Monochrome. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2008.
  • Telling Tales. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2014.
Tilt presents London Liming Patience Agbabi performs 'Word'

Tilt presents London Liming Patience Agbabi performs 'Word'

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See alsoEdit



  1. Patience Agbabi
  2. Young, Victoria (March 5, 2005), "Giving the Boys at Eton Poetry to Think About", New York Times,, retrieved 2008-04-01 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Patience Agbabi (United Kingdom, 1965), Poetry International Rotterdam. Web, Aug. 21, 2015.
  4. Search results = au:Patience Agbabi, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Aug. 21, 2015.

External links Edit

Audio / video
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.