Written Words: Warsan Shire’s Poetry

Issra Said , Staff Writer

Born on 1 August 1988, Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet based in the UK. At the age of twenty-eight the Young Poet Laureate has published three poetry books, her most recent one being Her Blue Body. Shire’s well-versed poetry has been accredited by many, including the African Poetry Prize. Much of her poetry describes her migrant background, culture, femininity, and ideas of love.

Shire’s poetry is meaningful of her past experiences. In ‘Home’ she writes, “You have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” As a Kenyan-born Somali living in the West, she is aware of the heartbreak involved in leaving home behind. In the late 1900s, the civil war of Somalia lead countless civilians to flee to neighboring countries, such as Kenya and Ethiopia. Many of these refugees later left for other countries, particularly in the Western World. Shire’s migrant past shapes her as a person and is incorporated in her poetry.

The young poet was even recently recognized by superstar Beyoncé in her album Lemonade. Her poetry was featured in the intros to multiple songs. Shire’s words add special depth to Beyoncé’s self-discovery-esque album. Fans of Shire were delighted to hear their favorite poet collaborated with another artist as established as Beyoncé. The added recognition is exactly what she deserves.

Shire’s poetry has the ability to reach anyone, regardless of background. Read any of Warsan Shire’s books, including Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (2011), Her Blue Body (2014), and The Pity (2015), to experience her brilliant work.