Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
Warsan Shire – a 29-year old Kenyan born Somali poet and writer – is based in London, England. Published in 2011, 'Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth' is a book filled with words that smack you in the face and leave you breathless. Each poem is a story of pain and journey and trauma and survival, and each poem is its own narrative. The entire book put together is a journey with Warsan, who has read her work extensively around the world, and whose work has been translated into multiple languages.
“I know a few things to be true. I do not know where I am going, where I have come from is disappearing, I am unwelcome and my beauty is not beauty here. My body is burning with the shame of not belonging, my body is longing.”
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur is a 24-year old writer and artist living in Toronto, Canada. Her book of prose and poetry, entitled 'Milk and Honey', was published in 2015. Her work is intensely personal, and is about love, loss, trauma, healing, and femininity. Split into four chapters, each chapter deals with a different subject and heals a different heartache. Rupi travels around the world performing her spoken-word poetry and conducting writing workshops.
“I am a museum full of art
but you had your eyes shut.”
Mouthful of Forevers
Clementine von Radics is a 25-year old poet based in Portland, Oregon; her book of poetry entitled 'Mouthful of Forevers' is named after the poem of the same name that went viral on Tumblr and catapulted its young writer to international fame. The poem (a part of which I quoted above) has inspired wedding vows, You Tube videos, and even tattoos, and enjoys a cult following. The book – dealing with love, loss, and uncertainty – is written in a haunting yet incisive style that was originally intended to inspire teenage girls, but that ended up finding a home in the hearts of all of us who have felt those things.
“I know sometimes
Love & Misadventure
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.”
Based in New Zealand, Lang Leav is a 34-year old poet whose work first appeared on Tumblr. She is a social media sensation, and enjoys a huge fan following. Love & Misadventure is a book of prose and poetry that follows an ill-fated love affair from start to culmination, from the heady highs to the bitter lows. Leav's poetic style is direct and simplistic; yet she has an ability to accurately translate emotion to the page.
“It was a question I had worn on my lips for days - like a loose thread on my favourite sweater I couldn't resist pulling - despite knowing it could all unravel around me.
'Do you love me?' I ask. In your hesitation I found my answer.”