Book Notification

Warsan Shire Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Collections

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Her Blue Body (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Mouthmark Book of Poetry(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pity(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Seven New Generation African Poets(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
New Daughters of Africa(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Halal If You Hear Me(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire was born August 1, 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She is a poet, writer, teacher, and editor. When she was just one, she migrated to the United Kingdom. She’s got four siblings. She has her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing.

Warsan’s poetry has been published in various literary publications, including Poetry Review, Wasafiri, and Magma. Her verse has been featured in “Ten: The New Wave”, “Salt Book of Younger Poets”, and “New Daughters of Africa”. Her poetry has been translated into a number of languages, including Danish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Estonian.

Warsan uses not just her own personal experiences but those of people to whom she is close. She either knows or is every person that she has written about, as or for. However she does imagine them in their most intimate of settings. Her main interest is writing about and for people that are typically not heard from otherwise, like refugees and immigrants along with other marginalized groups of people.

Warsan also navigates quite a bit through her memory, her memories and other’s memories, attempting to essentially just make sense of things. As a first generation immigrant, she has used her poetry to connect with her home country of Somalia, which she’s never been to, yet which she has described as being a nation of poets. She uses her position as an immigrant herself to convey the lives of these peoples. Warsan utilizes the influences of her core relatives, and family members and each of their experiences to portray her poetry the struggles that they’ve all faced in their lives.

She wrote the poetry for “Black is King” (the Disney film) and “Lemonade” (the Peabody Award winning visual album) in collaboration with Beyonce Knowles-Carter. Warsan also wrote the short film “Brave Girl”, which highlights the faces and voices of Somali girls in Africa’s largest refugee camp.

In 2013, she got awarded the inaugural Brunet University African Poetry, selected out of a shortlist of six candidates out of a total 655 entries. It’s an award earmarked for poets that have yet to publish a full length collection of poetry.

In 2014, Warsan was also selected as poet-in-residence of Queensland, Australia, liasising with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts over the span of six weeks. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in its “40 under 40” initiative.

“Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth” is a poetry collection that was released in 2011. What elevates and gives these poems their disturbing brilliance is her ability to give beautiful and simple eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; and reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times, like in Tayeb Salih’s work, and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Saadawi.

Like Rumi once said love is going to finds its way through all the languages all on its own, and with this book, we see the unearthing of this poet that finds her way through all preconceptions to strike at the heart directly.

“Our Men Do Not Belong To Us” is a poetry collection that was released in 2014. This is the opening noise of a poet that has already gained a significant amount of praise for her poetry already. Her poems are direct yet are works of such delicate construction and layered insight that one soon realizes what appears to be direct is necessarily wholly questioning, indirect, uncertain, and vulnerable.

Her poems are about how women deal with the violence of all sorts of exploitation, however they’re never simplistic or didactic. Warsan fills her poems with the effects of her complex sense of identity in transcultural Africa.

“Her Blue Body” is a poetry collection that was released in 2015. Through her role as the first Young Poet Laureate of London, she turned her eye to the city, interrogating the capital and its continuing transformation, even as she lends a voice to its oft unheard or under-represented spaces and communities.

Collecting work that was authored during her tenure, this book stands as a witness and testament, negotiating the complexities and heritage, sensuality, cultural sensitivity, womanhood, and trauma. Which is ordered and framed by a sequence of memorial poems, focused through the lens of her unflinching and intimate vision.

“Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head” is a poetry collection that was released in 2022. Poems of resilience, womanhood, migration, and trauma.

Warsan, with her first full length collection of poetry, introduces us to this young girl, who, in the absence of some nurturing guide, makes her own stumbling way toward her womanhood. Drawing off her own life and the life of her loved ones, as well as news and pop culture headlines, she finds vivid and unique details in the experiences of immigrants and refugees, daughters and moms, Black women, and teen girls.

In her hands, lives spring into fullness. This is fragrant life: filled with perfume and blood and jasmine, incense, and shisha smoke. It’s also noisy life: filled with weeping, music, surahs, birds, and sirens. This is polychrome life: filled with moonlight, henna, turmeric, lipstick, and kohl.

Each reader is going to come away changed from this blessing of a book, which is an incantatory celebration of survival and resilience.

Shire’s poetry is visceral, about women’s bodies and the grief that they carry. They are about migration, loss and war, and all of the voices of different generations. She writes about her experiences and the struggles that people in less talked about parts of the world go through heart breakingly and brilliantly. She weaves beautifully constructed similes with well placed metaphors, she writes fluently and simply about tragic and deep issues which matter. Shire discusses everything that is touching and meaningful from refugees and war to heartbreak and feminism in an original and unflinchingly honest way.

This collection was longlisted for the 2023 Griffin Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize and the 2022 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Warsan Shire

Leave a Reply