You’ve heard of her. You’ve seen her poetry on Tumblr, Instagram and so many more platforms in artsy movements. Rupi Kaur is the “Queen of Instapoets.” Without knowing a lot about her I was skeptical of the idea of her heavily commercialized poetry. Daughter of two immigrant parents, 25-year-old Rupi Kaur is an Indian-Canadian poet, writer, illustrator, and performer. She has published a collection of poetry and prose Milk and Honey in 2014 and her second book The Sun and Her Flowers was published in 2017.
Starting with her first collection Milk and Honey, I have to say that I prefer this one to her second collection: The Sun and Her Flowers. I just seemed to find more of a connection to the words she painted on this canvas as opposed to the latter. It felt more raw and deep. There was more meaning behind the poetry whereas in her second collection we find one-liners that simply say “I long to be a lilypad”.
That being said I did find meaningful poetry abundant in both collections. I don’t claim to be an expert, save for my BA in English and Creative Writing, but as a connoisseur of poetry, new and old, I feel that some of her poems are lacking while others flourish in such a beautiful manner I want to paint them on my own skin.
While some poems are short and subtle, I believe that it depends on the consumer of the poetry to find the true meaning hidden in the words. “Upon my birth my mother said there is god in you can you feel her dancing”. I’ll admit that I am more of a fan of Rupi Kaur’s now than I was in the beginning. Thinking about it, she is smart to use social media to promote her poetry and I applaud her for the success and name she is making for herself.
Getting to know her story also helps me to understand more of her poetry. There are more personal elements than most poets and getting to know your author is part of the journey.
“Of course I want to be successful but I don’t crave success for me. I need to be successful to gain enough milk and honey to help those around me succeed.”
Kaur isn’t afraid to bear all in her writing. Throughout both books, she touches on sexuality, rape, substance abuse and feminism. “You want to keep the blood and the milk hidden as if the womb and breast never fed you.” Kaur constantly touches on the aspect of beauty in multiple societies (“…but when I finally felt beautiful enough their definition of beauty changed…”) and the competition between women to be better. (“How do I shake this envy when I see you doing well sister. How do I love myself enough to know your accomplishments are not my failures. – We are not each other’s competition”)
For those who were like me at first, skeptical and judgemental, I encourage you to pick up on of Rupi Kaur’s books or check out her Instagram and peruse her poetry. I changed my own mind while reading but there are still quite a few poems that I would love to sit down and find out more about. Rupi, if you ever read this, I’d love to know why you want to be a lilypad.
i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spriti has crushed mountains
from now on i will say things like you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty
but because you are so much more than that
on the sacrifices
of a million women before me
thinking what can i do
to make this mountain taller
so the women after me
can see farther – legacy