FABClub (Female Authors Book Club) discussion

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
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Women of Africa > Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth group discussion (Mar '16)

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Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
This is a very slim volume of poetry. She has been praised for her "ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam." Who will be reading this with us?


message 2: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I have just read this. My reaction was "wow"! I look forward to discussing it once others have read it too.


Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I just got a copy from the library - I suspect I'll want to stretch it out a bit and make it last!


message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam I'm in! This had been sitting in my Amazon cart. Thank you fab for giving me a reason to buy!


Taylor (seffietay) This is a great collection, but so short! I wanted it to go on and on


Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I just took a serious look at this. Wow - that cover illustration!!!


Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I don't know how to talk about these - I love them, and I love the pictures they leave in my head - but also many of them leave me puzzled - and perhaps that's part of the point? For example "Your Mother's First Kiss," I think this is about rape, yet perhaps also the recognition of what exactly constitutes rape?

And then "Things We Had Lost in the Summer." Some have lost their childhood? The community of childhood? And I'm left with the sneaking suspicion that this might also be about rape.

Puzzling in a satisfying way.


message 8: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I read "Things We Had Lost in the Summer" as being about female genital mutilation rather than rape? I know Warsan Shire has campaigned here in the UK for more education on the subject.


Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Oh, oh, oh!!! Thank you for telling me that - now I need to go read that again!


message 10: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I keep going back and re-reading these poems. The one that particularly stands out for me is "Conversations about Home". When I hear the bile spouted in the mainstream media about "immigrants" (when what they mean is refugees) I recall over and over again Warsan Shire's phrase No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark and later in the same piece:

I was once like you, the apathy, the pity, the ungrateful placement and now my home is the mouth of a shark, now my home is the barrel of a gun

This volume of poetry may be slim but it is full of haunting imagery and thought provoking words.


Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Yes, that one is so horribly apt. Positively chilling! In many ways each of these was like a punch to the gut, whether she's talking about sex or war - and the final one summed it all up for me:

In Love and In War
To my daughter I will say,
"when the men come, set yourself on fire".

Wow! I'm so sad I have to give this back to the library!


Taylor (seffietay) YOU GUYSSSSS has anyone here watched Beyonce's Lemonade yet? Warsan Shire wrote the poetry for it! What a great collaboration!


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