POEM FOR THE EXPAT
This past fall, Danielle Obisie-Orlu was named Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County (Pennsylvania). The University of Pittsburgh junior was born in Washington, D.C., to Nigerian parents, and she was raised mainly in South Africa. She has always felt like something of an outcast, and this comes through in her poetry, including “Poem for the Expat,” which won her the title of Youth Poet Laureate. “My personal experiences of growing up as a dark-skinned Black woman in South Africa and the U.S. have really shaped how I hold myself.” Her passion to build bridges across cultural and racial divides is summed up in the African concept of ubuntu. “Ubuntu … [is] an approach to life that’s about valuing human dignity in one another,” she explains. It is the quest to “get to a place where I can say, ‘I recognize my humanity within you.’”
MERCY FOR THE OUTCAST
When Sarah had her son, Isaac, by Abraham, she wanted to be rid of Hagar and Ishmael. She urged Abraham to get rid of them, but Abraham was distressed by the idea. God assured him that He would not only protect the child but raise him up into a great nation. When the baby cried from thirst in the desert, the angel of God called out to Hagar, guided her to a well, and saved the lives of the outcasts.
- What is your favorite poem, and why?
- Who do we find it easiest to see dignity and humanity in? Who do we find it hardest to see these in?
- What does it say about God’s character that He treated Hagar and Ishmael as He did?