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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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OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

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