Warsan Shire: Who is She?

If you didn’t already know, 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’s poetry at times, both vivifying and horrifying, woven with themes of love, war, pain. Her writing style if described, would be along the lines of a deadpan style. minus the humour of course. She has a trend to weave in and out, out and about of the narrative. Her verses are metaphysical at times, as well as contemporary, with light resonance of a Gibranic inspiration. Her poetic style is fragmented and broken, not in the least concerned for punctuation or rhyme; and surprisingly, it works.

Examples of her writing:

freewrite on hunger

ask me to describe my body,

breasts the colour of almonds

each lip the pink of raw meat

ask me to describe how i feel about myself

a failed harvest

fruit rotting in a stomach. 


The Door

what will you be wearing

the day your lover leaves you?

i will be wearing my mothers disappointed smile


The Fire 

what did we do to our children

to make them want to burn down

their own homes?


The good news is that Warsan has a new book of poetry out, called ‘teaching my mother how to give birth’ which is available online: http://www.flippedeye.net/store/product_info.php?products_id=85.

Buy the book, it will be the best literary investment of modern times. You’ll read a few passages, then you’ll want to read more. Her sweetness in person resonates in her poetry. Like Warsan says in her Twitter bio: honey never rots. I totally agree with this, because goodness never dies.

If you want to find out more about this truly magnificent poet, check for links below:


Twitter: @warsan_shire