Book Thoughts: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth





Your daughter’s face is a small riot,

her hands are a civil war,

a refugee camp behind each ear,

a body littered with ugly things.

But God, doesn’t she wear the world well?

Simply stunning. I first came across Warsan Shire through tumblr. Then a fellow blogger named Sonia wrote a lovely post about this collection, and I knew that I had to bump this one up further on my ever growing TBR pile.

Shire’s poetry just spoke to me as cheesy as that sounds. She is a Kenyan born Somali immigrant currently living in England. Her family fled Somalia because of the war and in her poems she gives us such a private view into the world of what war does to families and to women. My family immigrated to the U.S. because of a war, so this touches me personally.

Teaching my Mother how to Give Birth is her first and only print collection to date, but she’s young so we have years to look forward to more. She manages to touch so many issues in an intimate way. From being an immigrant and feeling unwanted in your new land,

 where I have come from is disappearing, I am unwelcome and my beauty is not beauty here,

To fleeing your home because it’s ravaged by war, 

             No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark

My only complaint is that a few poems I read online aren’t here which is a bummer:( However, I loved all the poems that were here, and here is a few of my favorites.

Conversations about Home


Tea with our Grandmothers

She is brutally honest and does not shy away from giving graphic details of atrociousness, but the beauty of her poetry is that she makes the ugly not beautiful, but bearable. Something you can’t look away from.

To my daughter I will say,

when the men come, set yourself on fire

I highly recommend Teaching my Mother how to Give Birth for everyone, but especially poetry lovers.




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