Patience Agbabi is an English poet of Nigerian descent. She was born in 1965 in London and grew up in Sussex and Wales. She studied English at Oxford University and received her MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University.
As a spoken word poet, she performed extensively in the UK and Europe in the early 1990’s. She was Canterbury Laureate from July of 2009 until December of 2010. She has served as the Poet in Residence at Eton College, as well as lectured in creative writing at several UK universities (in Greenwich, Cardiff and Kent). She is currently a fellow in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University.
Agbabi’s work tackles issues of gender, class and social differences in contemporary culture. She explores rhyme and rhythm and is heavily influenced by rap, hip hop, and grime music, word play and popular culture. Her work is fast paced and fluid, and meant to be both read and performed aloud. She mixes formal, high art with vernacular and slang, expanding the expressive possibilities of the English language. Her characters are varied and complex and she is celebrated for giving a voice to the unheard and underrepresented.
Her first poetry collection was entitled R.A.W (1995). This work was followed by Transformatrix (2000) and Bloodshot Monochrome (2008). Telling Tales (2014) is Patience Agbabi’s fourth poetry collection. Her work was been featured in anthologies and journals, including The Virago Book of Wicked Verse (1992). She has also been featured on the radio and television. She is a contributor to Refugee Tales, another adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, inspired by and determined to end indefinite detention of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. This project recognizes the integral link between language and culture and strives to change the discourse off immigration, creating a language of welcome and a culture that never denies refugees their humanity.
“About Refugee Tales.” Refugee Tales | A Call to End Indefinite Immigration Detention, refugeetales.org/about-refugee-tales/. Accessed 22 Apr 2019.
Agbabi, Patience. Telling Tales. Canongate, 2015.
Gentle, Amaris. “Patience Agbabi.” I Don’t Call Myself a Poet, 11 Feb. 2013, idontcallmyselfapoet.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/patience-agbabi/. Accessed 22 Apr 2019.
Lomuto, Sierra. “Chaucer and Humanitarian Activism.” Public Books, 5 Dec. 2018, www.publicbooks.org/chaucer-and-humanitarian-activism/?utm_content=buffer5d0f4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer. Accessed 26 Apr 2019.
Obano, Nisha. “Patience Agbabi.” Encyclopedia of AfroEuropean Studies, www.encyclopediaofafroeuropeanstudies.eu/encyclopedia/patience-agbabi/. Accessed 13 Apr 2019.
Runcie, Charlotte. “Patience Agbabi: Chaucer Remixed.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 27 Apr. 2014, www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/authorinterviews/10788554/ Patience-Agbabi-Chaucer-remixed.html. Accessed 13 Apr 2019.
Stephen, Hayley. Agbabi, Patience, 1965-. ProQuest, Ann Arbor, 2006. ProQuest, search.proquest.com/docview/2137894927?accountid=12043. Accessed 15 Apr 2019.