The House (poem) Background

The House (poem) Background

"The House" is a poem written by Warsan Shire, a poet and activist with a Kenyan-Somali background. This is one of many poems within her poetry book Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, which was published during 2011 by flipped eye. Such a book consists of down-to-earth, soothing prose that captures the highs and lows of womanhood.

"The House" is a riveting display of womanhood's vulnerability. Shire compares the woman's body to a house equipped with different rooms that serve different purposes, such as the "kitchen of lust" and the "bedroom of grief." She speaks of men coming to the house with keys or hammers - to fill a void or create one. This poem is within the context of sexual abuse that Shire hints at experiencing and the degradation of the female body from a patriarchal perspective.

Shire enlightens the reader of the complexities tied to a woman's body and how they impact relationships with men, which is a prominent sub-theme in her book. Her poetry has been published in several literary publications, such as the Poetry Review and Poems That Make Grown Women Cry. Her talent even caught the eye of Beyonce, who implemented poems into Lemonade, her 2016 visual album.

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