As acclaimed for his poetic vision as for the beauty of his language, in these poems Okri captures both the tenderness and the fragility, as well as the depths and the often hidden directions of our lives. To him, the ‘wild’ is an alternative to the familiar; an essential place in the journey where energy meets freedom, where art meets the elemental, where chaos can be honed. When we lose the wild part of ourselves, we lose our link to the stars…

Ranging across a wide variety of subjects, from the autobiographical to the philosophical, from war to love, from nature to the difficulty of truly seeing, these poems will show you humanity in a new light, our modern world in all its richness and its agony, and a graceful way to live creatively with change.

Buy Wild – published 22/03/12



Welcome to the Ben Okri website, where you will find full information on all of Ben’s books, poetry, events and more.

Ben talks about his approach to writing

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Contact Ben

If you would like to send a message to Ben, please send it via:

Rider Books
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road
London, SW1V 2SA

If you have a publicity query, please contact his agents:

The Marsh Agency

O that Abstract Garden

O that abstract garden of being
Tells me to be brave, and clear,
In the fire of living,
And in the journey through the year.
So I will grow me like an oak tree
And make life’s honey like a bee.
Each day I will walk an interesting mile
And with the sun I’ll share a smile.
I will play again like a child,
And celebrate what’s wild.
I will swim in every sea or river,
And reflect the light of the sublime giver.
I will be at ease with opposition,
And will cultivate intuition.
I will walk the surprising streets,
And dance to life’s unexpected beats.
I will notice all the phases of the moon
And try not to act too late or too soon.
I will write something new every day
And look at paintings in an alternative way.
I’ll not dream the same way twice;
But I’ll not be shy to repeat what’s nice.
I’ll have the courage, when needed, to change;
And I won’t forget that life is strange.
And so I’ll learn to love the simple things
As well as the complexity that life brings.
Good or bad I’ll learn to treat the same
And I’ll not forget that it’s all a mysterious game.
I’ll not let that general fear of death run my life
And I’ll make magic even out of strife.
Into the higher realms I will enter
And make my corner the centre.
O that abstract garden, make me clear,
Make me brave, without fear.
I intend to love this rich new year.

This poem originally appeared on Ben’s Twitter page

A Time for New Dreams

Booker-winning novelist and one of Britain’s foremost poets, Ben Okri is a passionate advocate of the written word. In A Time for New Dreams he breaks new ground in an unusual collection of linked essays, which address such diverse themes as childhood, self-censorship, the role of beauty, the importance of education and the real significance of the recent economic meltdown.

Proving that ‘true literature tears up the script’ of how we see ourselves, A Time for New Dreams is provocative and thought-provoking. In an intriguing marriage of style and content, the concise but perfectly formed essays in this collection push the parameters of writing whilst asking profound questions about who we are and the future that awaits us.

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As Clouds Pass Above Our Heads

As clouds pass above our heads
So time passes through our lives.
Where does it go,
And when it passes,
What do we have to show?
We can plant deeds in time
As gardners plant roses.
We can plant thoughts, or good words too
Especially if they are noble and true.
Time is an act of consciousness:
One of the greatest forces
Of the material world.
We ought to use time
Like emperors of the mind:
Do magic things that the future,
Surprised, will find.
We could change our life today
And seek out a higher way.
The Buddha sat beneath a tree
And from all illusion became free.
And as we travel on this life that is a sea
We can glimpse eternity.
We can join that growing fight
To stop our world being plunged into night.
We can wake to the power of our voice
Change the world with the power of our choice.
But there is nothing we can do
If we don’t begin to think anew.
We are not much more than what we think;
In our minds we swim or sink.
If there is one secret I’d like to share
It’s that we are what we dream
Or what we fear.
So dream a good dream today
And keep it going in every way.
Let each moment of our life
Somehow help the good fight
Or help spread some light.
The wise say life is a dream;
And soon the dream is done.
But what you did in the dream
Is all that counts beneath the sun.
The dream is real, and the real is a dream
Each one of us is a powerful being.
Wake up to what you are,
You are a sun, you are a star.
Wake up to what you can be.
Search, search for a new destiny

This poem originally appeared on Ben’s Twitter page

The Famished Road

Azaro is a spirit child who is born only to live for a short while before returning to the idyllic world of his spirit companions. Now he has chosen to stay in the world of the living. This is his story.

What the critics say

Overwhelming – just buy it for its beauty – New Statesman

A brilliant read, unlike anything you have ever read before…the message is universal – The Times

It is a rich, provocative and hopeful vision of the world, stuffed full of drama and surprise-its literary lineage – the ease with which spirits move through every day life – is from ancient Greece and medieval romances – Independent

Okri is incapable of writing a boring sentence. As one startling image follows the next, The Famished Road begins to read like an epic poem that happens to touch down just this side of prose… When I finished the book and went outside, it was as if all the trees of South London had angels sitting in them – Linda Grant, Independent on Sunday

Read an extract
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Songs of Enchantment

One great thought can change the dreams of the world. One great action, lived out all the way to the sea, can change the history of the world. The adventures of Azaro, the spirit child, continue. From the bestselling author of The Famished Road comes this radiant sequel.

What the critics say

Triumphant…a joyful and entertaining read – Guardian

A prodigious talent – Time

Reading Okri felt to me like talking to someone who has a secret – New Statesman

Ben Okri writes beautifully – The Times

Read an extract
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Tales of Freedom

As one of Britain’s foremost poets, Ben Okri is rightly acclaimed for his use of language. And as a Booker Prize winning novelist, this skill was shown to particular effect in both Starbook (his most recent work) and in The Famished Road.

In Tales of Freedom he brings both poetry and story together in a fascinating new form, using writing and image pared down to their essentials, where haiku and story meet. Thus we discover Pinprop, the slave to an old couple lost in a clearing, who holds the keys to the universe in his quirky hands. Then there is the beautifully dressed black Russian on the train, helping to film a new version of ‘Eugene Onegin’. Later, in the chaos of the aftermath of war, orphaned children paint mysterious shapes of bulls, birds, hybrid creatures, and we wonder if grief has unhinged them into genius…And who is that woman, who hardly speaks, who presses a tiny flower into the palm of the young boy on the bus, and then leaves his life forever?

Tales of Freedom offers a haunting necklace of images which flash and sparkle as the light shines on them. Quick and stimulating to read, but slowly burning in the memory, they offer a different, more transcendent way of looking at our extreme, gritty world – and show the wealth of freedom that’s available beyond the confines of our usual perceptions.

What the critics say…

Moments of genuine poetry and insight – Guardian

Beautifully distilled…these tales are full of simple, elegant description…Rarely, perhaps, has the love of ideas been expressed as simply and unpretentiously – Glasgow Herald

Tales of Freedom may transport into regions of untold rapture – Telegraph

Read an extract
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