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Author: Warsan Shire
Publisher: Flipped Eye
Some of you may know Warsan Shire as the young woman who wrote the words that accompanied Beyonce’s Lemonade. What some of you may not know is that Shire was the first Young Poet Laureate for London, and she is also a voice for the marginalized.
In Shire’s debut collection, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, she writes of rape, trauma, diaspora, immigration—some narratives that are hardly heard of in the West. Her writing is hauntingly beautiful and painful and may leave you feeling raw, but the coarseness of the subject matter is perfectly offset by the delicacy of Shire’s words.
The collection is short, but the poems are dense and should be savoured. The poem “Conversations About Home (at the Deportation Centre)” is an excellent retort to anti-immigrant xenophobia, and could not be more relevant: “When I meet others like me I recognise the longing, the missing, the memory of ash on their faces. No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
The stories explored in her poems are not only intriguing, they are necessary.