Poems of migration, womanhood, trauma, and resilience from the celebrated collaborator on Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Black Is King, award-winning Somali British poet Warsan Shire

“The beautifully crafted poems in this collection are fiercely tender gifts.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist

“Shire is the real thing—fresh, cutting, indisputably alive.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Mama, I made it / out of your home / alive, raised by / the voices / in my head.

With her first full-length poetry collection, Warsan Shire introduces us to a young girl, who, in the absence of a nurturing guide, makes her own way toward womanhood. Drawing from her own life, as well as pop culture and news headlines, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black women and teenage girls. In Shire’s hands, lives spring into fullness. This is noisy life, full of music and weeping and surahs and sirens and birds. This is fragrant life, full of blood and perfume and shisha smoke and jasmine and incense. This is polychrome life, full of henna and moonlight and lipstick and turmeric and kohl. The long-awaited collection from one of our most exciting contemporary poets, this book is a blessing, an incantatory celebration of resilience and survival. Each reader will come away changed.
One of:
Vogue's "The Best Books of 2022: A Preview"
Lit Hub's "Most Anticipated Books of 2022"
Esquire UK's "The Best Books of 2022 Will Provoke, Persuade and Perturb You"
BuzzFeed's "26 Books To Get Excited About This Year"

"Vital, moving and courageous, this is a debut not to be missed."
The Guardian

“To say Warsan Shire's first full-length poetry collection is ‘highly anticipated’ is an understatement. . . . Consider Bless the Daughter essential reading.”
The Week

“[This] commanding debut from Shire captures the loneliness of migration in crystalline language punctuated by the menace of patriarchal violence. . . .  Shire’s assured voice teems with righteous fury, tempered by rich language to create a memorable and powerful book.”
—Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

The British-Somali poet is charting a new course with her first full-length poetry collection . . . which weaves together the themes of migration, womanhood, Black identity, and intergenerational collection that Shire is so singularly gifted at exploring. Shire frequently draws on her own life to create her art, and the end result is a collection of poems that will shine as a beacon for marginalized communities everywhere (and, perhaps, inspire those who have always taken their own belonging for granted to think beyond the confines of their individual experience).”

“This is a collection that merits slow and careful reading.”

“In her first full-length collection of poetry, the Somali-British writer forges her own path, with meditations on migration, femininity, trauma and resilience.”

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head tackles many of the same themes as her previous work, with the same striking verse we’ve come to expect from her.”

“Shire’s strikingly beautiful imagery leverages the specificity of her own womanhood, love life, tussles with mental health, grief, family history, and stories from the Somali diaspora, to make them reverberate universally. . . . By dint of all those blessings and Shire’s sensitivity, the poetry in Bless the Daughter soothes, even while it picks at the scabs of the wounds that cause trauma. Ultimately, the book feels like Shire is performing a benediction, laying trauma’s ghosts to rest.”
The Telegraph

“This full-length collection . . . depicts a journey to womanhood intermixed with pop culture and news references. Shire’s body of work has always impressed me with its triumph of visceral, biting imagery. . . . Shire’s poetry flows with power like the earth splitting wide open.”
Literary Hub

“I have long been a massive fan of Warsan Shire's extraordinarily gifted poetry. Her exquisite, memorable and finely-tuned poems articulate a depth of experience that never fails to surprise and profoundly move me, as she so powerfully gives voice to the unspoken. This is a book of many gems, to be savoured slowly, allowing each wonderful poem to sink in before progressing to the next one. I will certainly be returning to it again and again.”
Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other

“With her first full-length poetry collection, Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice In Her Head, Warsan Shire electrifies. Her poems capture young black womanhood, what it means to search for home in the world, what it means to inhabit a woman’s body, the tensions of reconciling faith and family and everything that threatens the borders of expectation and obligation. The beautifully crafted poems in this collection are fiercely tender gifts.”
Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist
“Warsan Shire is an expert sculptor. She molds words into clay, her poems into statues—each one a wonder that I return to, in reverence. Because in every line, every curve is an invitation to see differently what has been deemed ugly or difficult. This book is the art gallery I’ve yearned to visit.”
Vivek Shraya, author of I’m Afraid of Men and even this page is white

“Warsan Shire is both “poet's poet” and “poet of the people” the way Pablo Neruda and Gwendolyn Brooks were both poets beloved by poets as well as the people. Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head is full of ferocious love and truth. It is not overstatement to say Shire writes the way Nina Simone sang. All the brilliance of her lean, monumental Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth is magnified in this remarkable new book.”
Terrance Hayes, author of National Book Award finalist, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

“Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice In Her Head
, Warsan Shire’s fierce and compelling book of poems, should come with a warning label: These poems will break your heart.  Never has the phrase, speak truth to power, been truer.  But Shire does more than speak truth, she sings truth and that is precisely her power.  Her poems are incantations, chants, spells for our time and all time.  They address the displacements and violence experienced by migrants, refugees, those in dark bodies and in female bodies.  Where else to go for safety and salve but poetry?  Souls so deep that no cruelty or injustice can drown their song.  A warrior woman poet, Shire wields words as a weapon of mass creation.  It is a “war” every reader will want to fight with her.  And we do, by reading and rereading her poems.”
Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and Afterlife

“Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in her Head is heartbreaking, full-bodied, and luscious. Although they encompass complex themes, the poems are lucid and utterly magically alive, it's almost like the book is a person! If someone from another planet wanted to know what it was like for a woman to survive on earth, they should read this book!”
Pascale Petit, author of Tiger Girl

“Read these candid and revelatory poems to wrap your arms tight around the certainty of your own fracture, to acknowledge the many places and many ways your body has succumbed to violation and only fitfully healed. Read them to know your whole muscled self as a vessel for grief, and to bask in the stuttered lyric of its story. Beauty is maddeningly elusive, but it does exist. It's here in these lines, bursting brilliant, reshaping the story.”
Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art

“Shire’s exploration of her community feels fresh and incisive.”
The New Yorker

“Fiercely tender gifts.”
—Bristol 24/7

“[Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head] is powerful because it cuts close to the bone. And it demands to be spoken as well as read.”
—The Straits Times

“Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head is perhaps the most highly anticipated poetry collection of 2022.”

“Warsan Shire’s Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head has cemented her status as the voice of a generation.”

“[A]t the heart of this book is Shire’s compassion and celebration of human life.”
—The New Statesman