Warsan Shire Named London’s First Young Poet Laureate


London’s first ever “young poet laureate” is Warsan Shire, a twenty-four-year-old “Kenyan-born Somali poet” from northwest London.

What distinguishes a young poet laureate from a regular one? In addition to being a gifted writer, a young poet laureate has a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Bandcamp with recordings of her reading her work.

Shire, who wrote a book of poetry called Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, “will begin with a residency at the Houses of Parliament.”

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →