Can You Download Beyonce's 'Lemonade' Poetry? Warsan Shire's Work Is Waiting To Be Rediscovered
We're still writhing around and trying to collect ourselves after pop culture explosion of Beyoncé's new visual album, Lemonade. Truth be told, the Queen's latest triumph is overshadowed by an ongoing witch hunt to find "Becky with the good hair," so much so that you almost don't get to appreciate that poetry that weaves her story together. But for those of you who have noticed the words of Warsan Shire in Beyonce's album, you may be wondering if you could download the poetry in Lemonade.
But first, a double-take: Beyoncé didn't write those snippets? No, my sweet, innocent baby fawn. No. Beyoncé may be #flawless and all, but it takes a whole village to get her that way. Instead, Beyoncé is reciting quotes from the work of 27-year-old British-Somali poet Shire. Shire has only yet released two pamphlet's — Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth in 2011 and 2015 Her Blue Body — but she's already received numerous accolades and awards for her work. So snagging the "Film Adaptation and Poetry" credit in the Lemonade film is, while huge, hardly the beginning of her career as wordsmith. In fact, it's kind of amazing how much of her pre-existing works shows up throughout the course of Lemonade.
Excerpts from several of Shire's poems make their way onto the album, including "Grief Has Its Blue Hands In Her Hair," "The unbearable weight of staying (the end of the relationship)" and "Nail Technician As Palm Reader." Of course, the stand-out poem is perhaps Shire's most famous, "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love," and it has a starring role as the first poem Beyoncé quotes in her album. So now that we're all better acquainted, we turn to that conflict of whether you can actually download Shire's work and listen to them independently (you know, once you're done looping Lemonade for the gazillionth time).
The short answer is "Well, yes, some of it." Shire, like any upcoming artist of this generation, has a bandcamp page, and you can purchase her album warsan versus melancholy (the seven stages of being lonely) there, which includes "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love" and "The unbearable weight of staying (the end of the relationship)." As far as "Nail Technician As Palm Reader" and "Grief Has Its Blue Hands In Her Hair" go, they seem to be unavailable in audio form, which is a bummer, but I think it's worth it to stay tuned.
At this juncture in her life, Shire still hasn't released her full collection of poems, and already she's accomplishing so much. That's why when we're done obsessing over Lemonade and collectively declaring, as a nation, that cheating partners are dead to us, we should keep an eye out for Shire's work. It's clear that she has a bright future ahead of her if her words are helping tell the story of pop royalty... and that future is Beyoncé-sanctioned.