Rupi Kaur, the Poetry Queen of Instagram

4 minute read
Rupi Kaur

Ever seen someone in the metro reading – milk and honey or the sun and her flowers? Did you know both these books are written by Rupi Kaur? Her third poetry book homebody came out in 2020 and is getting similar love from the youth all across the world. But this fame was not a smooth ride. Rupi has worked for years to reach this level. This blog will share with you the story of Rupi Kaur and how she came to be The Queen of Insta Poetry. Read more to know about this amazing artist and how she became the beloved poet of today’s youth.

Credit: TedX

Our backs tell stories no books have the spine to carry.”

Early Life

Rupi Kaur is an Indian born Canadian poet, illustrator and entrepreneur. Born on 4th October, 1992 in Punjab, India she knows her culture and traditions. Not a lot is known about her parents whom she accompanied when they migrated to Canada. She studied in Turner Fenton Secondary School and later studied professional and rhetoric writing at Waterloo University. From an early age Rupi was interested in art and painting which was encouraged by her mother. She turned to writing as a form of expression in her later teenage years and then went on to become an internet sensation with her talent. 

“It takes grace to stay kind in cruel situations.”

Her First Published Book

Rupi Kaur used to go to writing workshops and met teachers of creative writing who told her it was futile to try to get poetry published because there wasn’t a big market for that. She was suggested to get individual poems published in literary journals, magazines or anthologies. When she submitted her works for this purpose, she got rejection after rejection.

Rupi Kaur by Baljit Singh.jpg
Credit: Wikipedia

In the middle of her choosing what to submit next, she realized that her work was different and needed to be read in a collection, in its entirety. So she chose to create her own path and not listen to the people who didn’t believe in her work. She designed, edited and illustrated her first book milk and honey and self-published using CreateSpace in 2014. Initially, she hand-sold her books at local events. Later she was approached by a publisher and her book sold millions of copies. Her other books after were similarly successful and she even outsold Homer’s Odyssey by becoming the best selling poetry book. She says “The hustle and bustle of those years have been one of my favourite memories till date.”

“If you were born with the weakness to fall
You were born with the strength to rise.”

Her Unique Writing Style

Being named “writer of the decade” by The New Republic in 2019, with a net worth of about $1 Million, one thinks what makes her poetry so special? What makes her so popular among people that her work has been translated in over 42 languages? We’ll answer all your questions. Let’s talk about what is the theme of her poetry first. Her work talks about love, feminism, womanhood, loss, heartbreak, sexual trauma, healing, migration and the experiences related to all these.

She wanted to make her work more accessible to people and had a belief that “People will understand and they’ll feel it because it all just goes back to the human emotion. Sadness looks the same across all cultures, races, and communities. So does happiness and joy.” Her contemporary Lily Singh says “Whenever I read her poems, I have the same thought: ‘This is exactly how I feel but never knew how to say it”. And that “Rupi’s words make people, especially women, feel safe and understood.”

Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Another thing worth noticing in her poetry style is that she always uses only lowercase and a period in her writing. She takes inspiration for this style of writing from her mother tongue – Punjabi in which the Gurumukhi script doesn’t use any case distinction. All letters are the same where the only punctuation is a period. She loves the simplicity and straightforwardness of this style. She also feels “There is a level of equality” this visual effect brings to the work. “A visual representation of what I want to see more of within the world: equality.” This according to her is an ode to her “Identity as a Diasporic Punjabi Sikh Woman” by tying in her own heritage and history to her work.

What is stronger than the human heart
which shatters over and over and still lives.”

This amazing poet and illustrator who rose to fame through her short visual poetry and heart winning words want to expand now. Rupi Kaur wants to try writing prose also now. She still has about 10 chapters of a novel lying around and she is figuring out what to do with them. She is thinking she might try music as well which is what we gathered when she said “It would be cool to write a song with Adele, You know… if she calls me up.” Her tours are on a hold due to covid-19 for now but we’re rooting for her to start her tours again soon so that we also get to see her performance live on stage with others.

Check out Leverage Edu for more of similarly interesting and inspiring stories.  

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