Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head: Poems (Paperback)
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Poems of migration, womanhood, trauma, and resilience from the celebrated collaborator on Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Black Is King, award-winning Somali British poet Warsan Shire
“The beautifully crafted poems in this collection are fiercely tender gifts.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger
Mama, I made it / out of your home / alive, raised by / the voices / in my head.
With her first full-length poetry collection, Warsan Shire introduces us to a young girl, who, in the absence of a nurturing guide, makes her own stumbling way toward womanhood. Drawing from her own life, as well as pop culture and news headlines, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black women and teenage girls. In Shire’s hands, lives spring into fullness. This is noisy life, full of music and weeping and surahs and sirens and birds. This is fragrant life, full of blood and perfume and shisha smoke and jasmine and incense. This is polychrome life, full of henna and moonlight and lipstick and turmeric and kohl. The long-awaited collection from one of our most exciting contemporary poets, this book is a blessing, an incantatory celebration of resilience and survival. Each reader will come away changed.
About the Author
Warsan Shire is a Somali British writer and poet born in Nairobi and raised in London. She has written two chapbooks, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and Her Blue Body. She was awarded the inaugural Brunel International African Poetry Prize and served as the first Young Poet Laureate of London. She is the youngest member of the Royal Society of Literature and is included in the Penguin Modern Poets series. Shire wrote the poetry for the Peabody Award–winning visual album Lemonade and the Disney film Black Is King in collaboration with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. She also wrote the short film Brave Girl Rising, highlighting the voices and faces of Somali girls in Africa’s largest refugee camp. Warsan Shire lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head is her full-length debut poetry collection.
“It is not overstatement to say Shire writes the way Nina Simone sang. All the brilliance of her lean, monumental Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is magnified in this remarkable new book.”—Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
“Beauty is maddeningly elusive, but it does exist. It’s here in these lines, bursting brilliant, reshaping the story.”—Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art
“Warsan Shire’s exquisite, memorable, and finely tuned poems articulate a depth of experience that never fails to surprise and profoundly move me, as she so powerfully gives voice to the unspoken.”—Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other
“Heartbreaking, full-bodied, and luscious . . . If someone from another planet wanted to know what it was like for a woman to survive on earth, they should read this book!”—Pascale Petit, author of Tiger Girl
“This fierce and compelling book of poems should come with a warning label: These poems will break your heart.”—Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and Afterlife
“Warsan Shire is an expert sculptor. She molds words into clay, her poems into statues—each one a wonder that I return to, in reverence.”—Vivek Shraya, author of I’m Afraid of Men and even this page is white