Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire Biography

Shire was born in 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She immigrated to the United Kingdom at the age of one. Shire has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. As of 2015, she primarily resides in London

In 2011, Shire released Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth, a poetry pamphlet published by flipped eye. Her full collection is to be released in 2016 through flipped eye.

Shire has read her poetry in various artistic venues throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, North America, South Africa and Kenya. Her poems have been republished in various literary publications, such as the Poetry Review, Magma and Wasafiri. Additionally, Shire's verse has been featured in the Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011) and Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe, 2014) collections. They have also been translated into a number of languages, including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish and Estonian.

As of 2015, Shire is working on her first full poetry collection. She also serves as the poetry editor at SPOOK magazine. In addition, she teaches poetry workshops both globally and online for cathartic and aesthetic purposes.

Shire has received various awards for her art. In April 2013, she was presented with Brunel University's inaugural African Poetry Prize, an award earmarked for poets who have yet to publish a full-length poetry collection. She was chosen from a shortlist of six candidates out of a total 655 entries.

In October 2013, Shire was also selected from a shortlist of six young bards as the first Young Poet Laureate for London. The honour is part of the London Legacy Development Corporation's Spoke programme, which focuses on promoting arts and culture in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area.

In 2014, Shire was also chosen as Queensland, Australia's poet in residence. She therein liaised with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts over a six-week period.

The Best Poem Of Warsan Shire

Home

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

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Warsan Shire Comments

jaejae 04 February 2018

lover her work. she is very talented,

9 0 Reply
Racia 10 May 2018

Such sympathetic choice of words. I appreciate Her work.

8 0 Reply
Peggy Norris 16 July 2019

Home is a very moving poem. Trump should read it, but unfortunately, he doesn't read...

7 1 Reply
Prabir Gayen 24 February 2019

Extraordinary talented poetess....God bless you.

3 1 Reply
Kaweena 09 February 2019

One of the greatest poet... She is very skilled..

6 1 Reply
Alain 19 September 2018

Fabulous and really talentuous! ! !

5 4 Reply
Isabella 20 May 2018

Amazing. Terrible, and melancholy and awful and amazing...

10 0 Reply

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