with Christina Anderson, Olivia Marve, and Lara Kahn
This podcast mobilizes Warsan Shire’s book of poems titled “Teaching my Mother How to Give Birth” to explore how diasporic belonging intersects with her experiences of gender, race, and sexuality as a first-generation immigrant from Somalia. We begin with an overview of Shire’s personal background with migration and delve into how these experiences of becoming a diasporic subject influence her writing. From there, we discuss the meaning of diaspora and how we are able to use this understanding as an analytical tool for reading Shire’s work and uncovering her diasporic subjectivity. We use this foundation to inform our individual analysis of her poems “Fire,” “Birds,” and “Conversations About Home,” and invite listeners to explore our own personal reactions to these works. In sum, this podcast explores the gendered nature of diaspora and exposes how Warsan Shire’struth about the nature of violence in war and her struggles with assimilation represent a particular articulation of diasporic experience.