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Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (Mouthmark) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Mouthmark
  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • Publisher: flipped eye publishing limited (December 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905233299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905233298
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 51 customer reviews
Only book of poetry I read in one sitting.
Alexandria
I first found her work through tumblr and when this book was published, I rushed to order it.
maryshelagh
Warsan Shire's writing is elegant, powerful, and makes me uncomfortable in the best ways.
dansully

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Noreen on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this far too quickly, I was eager. I suggest you, next reader, take it slowly, savour it.

Her words come from a place of visceral, raw emotion.

It's quiet at times, loud in others. It carries an uncompromising honesty.

I couldn't keep it in my possession, I had to share it, I gave it to someone else who could be transported as I was.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JB on March 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
I can't even begin to describe it. Essential life reading. This is something you must experience. Also do yourself the favor of searching online for her other works.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By dansully on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great collection of poems from a talented young writer. I stumbled across one of her poems online and immediately sought out her chapbook here. Warsan Shire's writing is elegant, powerful, and makes me uncomfortable in the best ways. On rare occasions, I find art that fills me up. Sometimes, it is with rage, at others it is with guilt, or joy, or inspiration. This is one of those books that makes me feel. All of those things. And more. Read this book. Read these poems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alicia A on June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Warsan Shire always delivers and Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth was no exception. So glad I purchased this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank Watson on November 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is the journey of Kenya-born Somali poet, Warsan Shire. Many poems tell stories that hit home universally, regardless of cultural background, while exploring cultural facets that are rarely understood in the West. These are often told with a kind of dark humor, despite the disturbing nature of the underlying events, as in this excerpt:

Your mother was sixteen when he first kissed her.
She held her breath for so long that she blacked out.
On waking she found her dress was wet and sticking
to her stomach, half moons bitten into her thighs.

That evening she visited a friend, a girl
who fermented wine illegally in her bedroom.
When your mother confessed "I've never been touched
like that before," the friend laughed, mouth bloody with grapes,
then plunged a hand between your mother's legs.

There were also often humorous insights into the culture of the poet's birth, which also showed an implicit critique:

Sofia used pigeon blood on her wedding night.
Next day, over the phone, she told me
how her husband smiled when he saw the sheets,

[...] how he whispered

her name--Sofia,
pure, chaste, untouched.

I recommend this slim volume of poetry for the humor and cultural insights. The short, paragraph-length essays were also worth reading. Minor critiques include an occasional lack of musicality in the verse and an unnecessarily ambiguous voice in some poems, addressing the poems to "you" when it isn't clear who "you" is. While ambiguity can occasionally serve a purpose, I didn't see it in this case. That said, I enjoyed the volume and would recommend it to anyone interested in fresh poetic voices.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By maryshelagh on October 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
I would recommend everyone read this collection. It is heartbreaking and hopeful, and I can't reread it often enough. I first found her work through tumblr and when this book was published, I rushed to order it. Devouring it was cathartic and my only regret is that I did not slow myself down for the first readthrough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Azucena on November 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish it was a bit longer, I read it in one sitting. It was a simple and amazing little book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Williams on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Warsan Shire is one of my most favorite poets. Her words are inspiring, tender, nuanced and vulnerable in the wake of violence and raw experiences. I gave my copy away to my boyfriend, it was so good I had to share. There are some poems in it you will not be able to find online, either - but a hard copy is always a good thing to have for something so precious.
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