As we talk about the Brunel Prize including six women on its eight-name 2018 shortlist, two female African poets have been included in Vogue magazine’s feature for the 2018 “World Poetry Day” on March 21. Somali Warsan Shire and Nigerian-British Yrsa Daley-Ward appear alongside seven other poets of international renown: Lang Leav, Kaveh Akbar, Donika Kelly, Solmaz Sharif, Danez Smith, Romalyn Ante, and Dave Lucas.
Here are Vogue‘s comments on the two poets.
Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
Bone has captivated readers worldwide since its debut in 2014. Daley-Ward’s short poems cover subjects like depression, falling in and out of love, and sexuality, with a fierce staccato that, as the title suggests, cuts deep. “If you’re afraid to write it, that’s a good sign,” Daley-Ward told The Guardian in 2017. “I suppose you’re writing the truth when you’re terrified.”
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
You’re already familiar with Shire’s work to some degree if you’ve ever listened to Beyonce’s Lemonade, on which the poet’s lines appear in six different songs. In “Intuition”: “I tried to make a home out of you, but doors lead to trap doors, a stairway leads to nothing. Unknown women wander the hallways at night. Where do you go when you go quiet? The past and the future merge to meet us here. What luck. What a fucking curse.” More of that woman-focused magic here, from beneath the veil of constricted culture informed by Shire’s Somali Islamic faith.
Read about the other poets HERE.