Interspersed between songs in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” special are the powerful words of Warsan Shire.
“You can’t make homes out of human beings/ someone should have already told you that/ and if he wants to leave/ then let him leave,” Beyoncé recites from Shire’s poem, “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love.”
The collaboration between the 27-year-old, Somali-British poet and the Grammy-award winning artist adds depth to the already personal songs featured on the potent album.
Beyoncé pulls from various of Shire’s works, including her first pamphlet of poems, “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth,” published in 2011. The book is already sold out on Amazon.
While Beyoncé might catapult the young poet to mainstream fame, she’s already had an accomplished career.
In 2013, the young poet received Brunel University’s African Poetry Prize, and a year later was made London’s Young Poet Laureate. She also spent six weeks in Australia, as Queensland’s Poet in Residence, and currently serves as poetry editor for the magazine Spook.
An October profile in the New Yorker said that Shire reached more than 50,000 followers on Twitter. That number is now up to more than 70,000. And though she rarely tweets, when she does it’s often to highlight words from poets, artists, and authors she admires.
On Tuesday, she posted a link to “Lemonade” and said, “Yosra, I hope you’re proud of us.” Yosra El-Essawy, who died from cancer in 2014, was a friend of Shire’s and Beyoncé’s tour photographer.
Shire published another pamphlet, “Her Blue Body,” in 2015, and a full collection, “Extreme Girlhood,” is expected within the year or so.