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 Shire’s debut pamphlet, we witness the unearthing of a poet who finds her way through all preconceptions to strike the heart directly. ‘teaching my mother how to give birth’ represents a refuge for womanhood and for exile, a chant of praise for resilience, a claiming of – and fierce pride in – motherhood with all its joys and challenges.
Date: 29th December 2011
Extent: 38 pp