Monday, 12 November 2012

Q&A w/ Kenyan Born Somali Poet Warsan Shire

“I have my mother’s mouth and my father’s eyes; on my face they are still together” - Warsan Shire  
Warsan is a Kenyan born Somali poet based in London. She’s also one of my favourite poets alive and she’s only 23. ‘Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth’ is the name of her first collection of poems.

Q1. Warsan, what’s more beautiful, midnight or midday?

midnight because it is quiet and all black is beautiful.

 Q2. The poet is often perceived as a tormented character, a lot of your poetry explores trauma. When you write are you in a certain mood?

probably crying, but not because i'm tormented or traumatised, but because something finally fell into place. 

Q3. You’ve started working with script writing, how does a poet work on scripts?

I thought film was poetry?

Q4. True, ok, if a love poet, a political poet and a preacher sat in a room together what would they talk about?

loss (my first answer was brittany murphys death, i don't know about everyone else, but personally i still have so many questions.) 

Q5. You’re reading a set of poems at Keats House on Sunday November 18th. What do you think makes a good poetry reading?

Intimacy, safety, relief between poems in the form of inappropriate humour. 

Q6.  So there’s this genre of poetry called ‘Spoken Word Poetry’ which has become quite popular… What’s your take on ‘Spoken Word’ as a form of poetry?

when it's done well, it's so good, so beautiful, that i die a little bit.  when it's bad, i just want to die. but that is true of most things, a bad cup of tea is tragic. a good cup of tea is a small heaven. 

Q7. I was teaching a year 10 class at school last week and I asked the class what they know about poets and a girl blurted the word “poverty!” across the room. What can up and coming poets aspire to apart from poverty?

Well, she had a point, you do aspire to be poor, but also, to be so deeply fulfilled that sometimes, you just sit with your face in your hands, in awe of it all. 

Q8. Finally Warsan, did you tell your mother she has a beautiful daughter?

She said you should come over for Somali tea, Ray.

Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth
DON'T MISS Warsan giving a reading of her poems at the Keats House Open Mic event on Sunday November 18th, 2pm - 4pm. (FREE)

Keats Grove, 
London, Greater London 

Follow Warsan Shire on Twitter - @warsan_shire
Keep updated on her blog 

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