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Monday, April 4, 2011

Warsan Shire: The Last Word

Written By: Nicole Parker-Jones—Proving that inspiration comes in many forms, Kenyan born Somali poet Warsan Shire is an artistic activist whose work has touched the lives of many across the globe. She believes in healing through narrative and art. She works with refugee communities in the UK through poetry workshops to document their stories of journey and trauma. Fearless and honest, she is not afraid to tell even the most difficult stories. Here, she shares her riveting words:
the birth name. the name warsan means good news in the somali language. i hated it. i despised my name. i wanted to be called something soft, something that ended with an "ah" sound. my name is difficult to whisper into the side of my face. my name is easy to use with a hard voice. i appreciate that now. the hesitation on the other side of the phone. the way they would replace my name with 'baby'. give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn't allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it mother calls me 'warsanay'. if a man ever tried to call me that, it means he understands that i am someone's daughter. it means i'll let him call me down from a long building. praise my grandmother, warsan baraka. my father's mother. the woman i was named after.
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(Photo Credits: © Warsan Shire)