Calling for international recognition of an independent Somaliland Republic has involved crafting a unique biography of a regional people. Yet, the formation of the Somali Republic in 1960 invoked a shared pre-colonial history – language, religion and customs. Because poetry and song are central in the formation of a Somali consciousness, this project seeks to investigate the way poetry has been used to sculpt a Somaliland identity and consciousness different from the rest of Somalia. It seeks to study the dominant themes, techniques, spaces and the performance of this poetry reflecting on how a variegated following has been mobilised in Hargeisa. Because a Somaliland-state logic gains momentum after the outbreak of large-scale violence in 1991, the project seeks to think through the histories invoked in crafting this consciousness: pre-colonial history, colonial history or history of violence and the civil war? What is the popular consciousness of state building in breakaway regions?