If you love Beyoncé’s Lemonade (and you must love Beyoncé’s Lemonade), then you’ve already heard some of the work of Warsan Shire. The 28-year-old Somali-British poet is a wonderful, inspiring voice for women all over the world, and it’s no surprise that Beyoncé chose to recite Shire’s powerful poetry in between tracks on her unstoppable visual-album.
Why are we telling you this now? Because it’s World Poetry Day of course! As we’re currently in a YouTube wormhole of next-level poetic performances, we thought we’d share some of our favourite female poets with you guys. And obviously we’re going to start with…
The unreasonably talented Shire has already released three collections of poetry, been named the first Young Poet Laureate for London and, as we may have mentioned, helped create one of the biggest albums ever.
Shire’s poems gently step through issues of identity, belonging, love and loss. She’s also not afraid to tackle some really tough subjects, so no matter which of her poems you read, you’ll come away feeling inspired, knowledgeable, and empowered – kind of like you just watched Lemonade.
Some would say this duo aren’t poets in the conventional sense of the word, but then they’re on the list for that very reason. After all, who wants to stick to convention? Poetic Pilgrimage is a hip-hop/spoken word group made up of Muneera Rashida and Sukina Abdul Noor, two artists who hail from Bristol.
Born to Jamaican families, both converted to Islam in 2005. We don’t often encounter female Muslim hip-hop groups, so you can imagine that their lyrics explore some pretty unique themes. Poetic Pilgrimage cover everything from politics, identity and faith, their words backed up by beats as diverse as their backgrounds.
Their sound spans reggae, jazz, and soul, and these sisters will make you want to move!
Momtaza Mehri is the kind of ultra-talented sister who inspires us to be the best. Not only is she an amazing poet and writer, she also works as a biomedical scientist (and she regularly drops GOLD on her Twitter).
Mehri’s poetry explores issues surrounding identity and heritage, often comparing them to the pop-culture pleasures – Whatsapp, Netflix, memes – that we enjoy in the UK. Trust us, there are little moments in her poems that will seem so familiar.