Gboyega Odubanjo

We are shocked and saddened by the news of the death of Gboyega Odubanjo. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

The family and friends of Gboyega have started an appeal to support his final arrangements and to accept donations towards the formation of the Gboyega Odubanjo Foundation in his honour. Please consider donating in memory of this wonderful poet.

A tribute to Gboyega Odubanjo – BBC Sounds:

Gboyega’s family and close friend look back on his life, achievements and legacy

A message from Suzannah Evans, Gboyega’s friend and colleague at The Poetry Business:

I first met Gboyega as a New Poets’ Prize winner; even reading his manuscript in the early stages I was blown away by the voice of Aunty Uncle Poems, its humour, its depths, its moments of strangeness. I was lucky enough to work as editor for this pamphlet, and Gboyega’s considerable warmth and intelligence was evident even through Zoom in those awkward pandemic editing meetings. The pamphlet did very well; an Eric Gregory and a Michael Marks award followed, cementing Gboyega’s place as an exceptional and increasingly influential voice. I can’t think of a more anticipated debut collection than his Adam, forthcoming with Faber.

We worked together again after this, as co-editors for two Poetry Business titles, Helen Seymour’s The Underlook and Sarah Barnsley’s The Thoughts. Gboyega was supposed to be the apprentice editor in this situation, but I learned just as much from him; his enthusiasm and respect for the work of these two poets, and his dedication to ensuring these books were as good as they could be was admirable.

Watching the outpourings of concern for his disappearance, and then of love and loss at his passing, I’m not surprised in the slightest; Gboyega meant a lot to many people. He was funny and kind, he was welcoming, and he was uniquely gifted as a poet and performer. He was an enthusiastic and valued member of the poetry community, as an editor with Bad Betty Press and bath magg. He is, and he will be, greatly missed.

In My Country by Gboyega Obubanjo

we can be a bit
boisterous says who
loud sure as the back
of a double decker
it’s just our culture
a few things to know
bend your knees
when you greet don’t ask
too many questions
it’s left of the dealer
twos on jacks no jacks
on twos the queen’s a slag
i don’t make the rules
i just want to win it’s not
that deep a man
talks about fucking another
man talks about mothers
it’s not a party until they’re
arguing about church
and we’re cooking
our meat over burning
documents see i know a guy
he knows a guy
can get you whatever
a clean cup of piss mangoes
in november we got you
just need you
to pledge allegiance
to the singlet to the
oversized luggage