Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Book - 2011
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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 d but 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.
Publisher: London : Mouthmark series, 2011
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9781905233298
Branch Call Number: 821.914 Sh65T 2011
Characteristics: 34 pages ; 22 cm


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Oct 29, 2018

A powerful book of poems about women, rape and the trauma of war from the heart of a Somali-Kenyan poet.

Can easily be devoured in one sitting, but also should be sipped and sipped again.

This line is particularly poignant in today's political climate: "No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark."


Sep 21, 2018

Blunt and heart-rending collection that looks and feels small in the hands but holds the heft of women's universal burdens and those of migrant women of color in particular. This is a chapbook-length collection but it's a meal to be consumed bite by bite, each viscerally felt poem deserving of its due contemplation.

KCLSRacheal Dec 14, 2016

Thank you to Beyoncé for bringing Warsan Shire to the national consciousness! Her poetry is beautiful, intense, affecting, and straightforward but nuanced. While this is a very slim book, each of its 34 pages has something powerful to offer.

Jul 21, 2016

Beautiful and power

Jun 11, 2016

This is a very small book one could- technically at least- read over one glass of wine. However, you might be frequently gobsmacked at how lucky you are not to have had to be a woman, a refugee, leaving your homeland that had blown-up. Worth the read if only to cultivate gratitude.

PimaLib_RachelW May 17, 2016

Warsan Shire's poetry was beautiful in the Beyoncé's Lemonade Visual Album!

"Your daughter ’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things.

But God, doesn’t she wear
the world well?”
― Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth


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