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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.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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