You’ll want to know who Rupi Kaur is. Discover her with us…
Obsessed with her most recent book, ‘Home Body’, HLN’s Molly Ashby takes a look at how poet Rupi Kaur – better known as ‘The Queen of Instagram’ – has used modern poetry to gain mainstream popularity.
By Molly Ashby
Rupi Kaur was just 21 when she wrote, illustrated and self-published her first poetry collection, ‘Milk and Honey’.
The 28-year-old Punjabi-Canadian quickly became recognised by millions – something of an anomaly in the poetry world – when the debut collection rose to the New York Times bestseller list and stayed there comfortably for the following 52 weeks. Next, came its artistic sibling, ‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ and together the collections have sold over 8 million copies to date, having been translated into more than 42 languages worldwide. Last month, the highly-anticipated third collection ‘Home Body’ debuted at number one on bestseller lists worldwide.
Rupi writes movingly about immigration, domestic violence, sexual assault and other substantial subjects, with the themes of self-care and self-love running through all three of her collections. Also touching on love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity and migration, she has consistently built her success on relatable and moving content. Rupi established herself not in poetry journals like the traditional poets we love, but on platforms like Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, where she leads the modern charge of ‘Instapoets’ with an unprecedented 4 million followers.
MILK AND HONEY
‘Milk and Honey’, arguably the darkest of the three collections, is split into four chapters. Each chapter serves a different purpose: the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing, and each is grounded in the everyday experiences of women around the world. Kaur stays true to her heritage throughout and writes about the tough subjects facing women around the world: violence, rape, love, loss and, above all, survival.
THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS
‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ takes readers on a vibrant journey of growth and healing. This time, though, it’s divided into five chapters: wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. With an overriding theme of ancestry and a constant reminder of inner strength, this book is a celebration of love in all of its forms – most importantly (in our opinion) loving oneself. Though there are some themes here that weren’t addressed in ‘Milk and Honey’, the main continuation is Rupi’s focus on self-care.
In her most recent work, Rupi continues to embrace the theme of growth, walking readers through an intimate journey that visits both past and present and the potential of the self. Another collection of raw, honest conversations split into four chapters – mind, heart, rest and awake – ‘Home Body’ is a soft reminder to rest, switch off and listen to what your body and mind are telling you. Something I think we can all relate to, this year more than ever.
The majority of the verses in all three collections are compact, confessional and inspirational and are usually brief enough to fit into a tweet or to be overlaid onto an eye-catching illustration on Instagram – instantly recognisable as Rupi’s line drawings. This form of publishing allows readers to see their thoughts and feelings instantly reflected back at them in verse form.
Though this style of poetry is not loved by everyone, her modern twist on the classic form has allowed Rupi’s work to reach wider and younger audiences – leaving her distinctive mark in the world of poetry forever.