“You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.”
― Warsan Shire

Country: Somalia

Why We Love Her: Warsan is only 28 but her bold poetry reveals a wisdom and depth of perception far beyond her years. Her words pierce the heart with their rawness; readers marvel at their scope. She writes of everything, but especially love, betrayal, body politics, migration and young womanhood. All of these with an inimitable quiet ferocity. Her free verse poetry has an ease to it and an inherent rhythm and truth.


no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well – “Home”, Warsan Shire

Her first chapbooks are Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth and Her Blue Body. They provide a taster of her talent and style, to be further explored in her forthcoming poetry collection. They have been bestsellers and attracted the attention of Beyoncé. The singer, a fan of the poet relied heavily on Warsan’s poetry for her visual album/art film Lemonade, for which Warsan wrote the screenplay.

“give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right.”
― Warsan Shire

Her work has been especially popular on Tumblr and amongst young black women who feel she taps into the intricacies of their lived experience. Warsan is the poetry editor at SPOOK magazine and teaches poetry workshops across the world. In 2013, she won the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize. She was also the first Young Poet Laureate for London, where resides.


“…28. He sent me a text that said “I love you so bad.”
29. His heart wasn’t as beautiful as his smile
30. We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love.
31. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.”  – Warsaw Shire


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