Letter to Patience

John Haynes
Publication Date: 
Thursday, April 20, 2006
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Winner of the 2006 Costa Poetry Award

Set in Patience’s Parlour, a small mud-walled bar in northern Nigeria, at a time of political unrest, Letter to Patience is a vividly atmospheric book-length poem divided into cantos.

The letter writer is in Britain, where he has returned with his Nigerian wife and children to nurse his dying father. He writes to Patience, the bar’s owner, who once lectured in politics but who gave up due to junta pressures.

The writer’s thoughts range from his childhood to the present: from African myths to personal histories, from political violence to its tragi-comic consequences. The poem is not only a biography, or an essay on post-colonialism, it is an epic portrayal of a beautiful and troubled country and of one man’s search for meaning in difficult times.


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