Born in Birkenhead, England, Adrian Henri was a painter and poet. His highly visual poetry reflects his strong foundation in fine art, which he established during his time at King’s College, where he studied painting. He was greatly influenced by abstract impressionism and the newly emergent pop art of the 1960s, incorporating these styles into his paintings of urban life. His poetry mirrored his art, in both style and content, and he often alluded to his visual art within his verse.
Henri was a member of the Liverpool poetry scene, and his work was first introduced to the public in the notable anthology Penguin Modern Poets 10 (1967), alongside that of contemporaries Roger McGough and Brian Patten. Together, these poets revived the concept of performance poetry, drawing inspiration from unpretentious urban subjects while adapting modern pop art styles of expression into exuberant readings. Henri continued painting and performing and writing poetry well into the 1990s, expanding the oeuvre to include children’s poetry, television drama, and plays. In the late 1990s, he suffered a stroke that severely impaired his ability to speak; however, after relearning how to talk and paint, he continued to produce art and verse until his death in 2000.