Adrian Henri (Adrian Maurice Henri) Biography
(1932–2000), (Adrian Maurice Henri), Mersey Sound, New Volume, I Want, Eric the Punk Cat, Rhinestone Rhino
British poet and painter, born in Birkenhead. He settled in Liverpool in 1957 where he, Roger McGough, and Brian Patten became prominent as The Liverpool Poets in the 1960s and 1970s. His poetry was influenced at various times by popular and rock music (from 1967 to 1970 he was the leader of the poetry/rock group ‘The Liverpool Scene’), American beat culture and jazz, and absurdist and other art and literature movements: in the 1960s he did much to familiarize British audiences with the works of French eccentric Alfred Jarry. His poetry is eclectic in style, influenced by the ‘cut-ups’ of William Burroughs, but consistently returns to sequences of fragmentary observations often provocatively juxtaposed. The joys and tribulations of love are a recurring theme, but expressed more in the imagery of pop music than in either the lyricism of Patten or the irony of McGough. The Mersey Sound anthology (1967) established him as a poet. By 1983, and the sequel New Volume, McGough and Patten had left Liverpool. Henri's output since the 1960s is prolific. It includes fiction (I Want, with Nell Dunn, 1972); verse and prose for children (Eric the Punk Cat, 1987; Rhinestone Rhino, 1989); Box and Other Poems (1990) for teenagers; and several plays for stage and television including The Wakefield Mysteries (1988). Henri's published work can be confessional and personal in tone, as in the collection Autobiography (1971) and the elegiac Wish You Were Here (1990). Collected Poems appeared in 1986, and Not Fading Away: Poems 1989–1994 in 1994.