The long-awaited collection by British-Somali poet Warsan Shire is finally on its way. Publication by Random House is set for March 1, 2022 by Random House. This is Shire’s first collection since she collaborated with Beyoncé on Lemonade and Black Is King.
Titled Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head, the collection evokes themes that continue to inform Shire’s poetry. These include themes of “migration, womanhood, trauma, and resilience.” At a time when questions of immigration and refugee life have become more urgent than ever, Shire exploration of the fraught journey to womanhood in the context of displacement is particularly timely.
Readers familiar with her work will appreciate the variety of sources she pulls from to do justice to the lived experience of women across all ages. She is referencing pop culture but also surahs. The world of the poems are layered with images of “fragrant life, full of blood and perfume and shisha smoke and jasmine and incense…full of henna and moonlight and lipstick and turmeric and kohl.” The result is what, in the publisher’s note, is called “polychrome life.”
Author of well-loved collections such as Our Men Do Not Belong To Us and Teaching Our Mothers How to Give Birth, Shire is a prominent voice in the African literary scene.
Read the full statement by the publisher and see pre-order options below.
Mama, I made it / out of your home / alive, raised by / the voices / in my head. With her first full-length poetry collection, Warsan Shire introduces us to a young girl, who, in the absence of a nurturing guide, makes her own stumbling way toward womanhood. Drawing from her own life, as well as pop culture and news headlines, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black women and teenage girls. In Shire’s hands, lives spring into fullness. This is noisy life, full of music and weeping and surahs and sirens and birds. This is fragrant life, full of blood and perfume and shisha smoke and jasmine and incense. This is polychrome life, full of henna and moonlight and lipstick and turmeric and kohl. The long-awaited collection from one of our most exciting contemporary poets, this book is a blessing, an incantatory celebration of resilience and survival. Each reader will come away changed.