What elevates teaching my mother how to give birth, what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire’s ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times – as in Tayeb Salih’s work – and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Saadawi. As Rumi said, “Love will find its way through all languages on its own.”
In teaching my mother how to give birth, Warsan’s debut pamphlet, we witness the unearthing of a poet who finds her way through all preconceptions to strike the heart directly.
Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Warsan Shire is a Somali-British poet. She is the author of two poetry pamphlets, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (2011) and Her Blue Body (2015). In 2014 she was appointed as the inaugural Young Poet Laureate of London. In 2016 she collaborated on the film adaptation and poetry for Beyoncé Knowles-Carter's visual album Lemonade. She is currently working on her first full collection of poetry.