I decided to come straight into the modern era with this month’s poet; focusing on 25 year old(!) Indian born poet Rupi Kaur.
Many of you have probably heard of Kaur before, some of you may not have. She is a quintessential millennial writer, in that she has used social media to its fullest extent to widen her audience and get her poetry heard. She currently has 2.8M followers on Instagram (and you can find her at @rupikaur_).
She was born in Punjab, India; but emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four. Unable to speak the language at school, she began drawing and painting. Each of the poems she writes are now accompanied by a line drawing done by Kaur to illustrate the meaning of each piece. As she learned English she began to send short poems to friends and family as presents/keepsakes on special days and birthdays.
One thing I’d never picked up on in her poetry, and learnt whilst researching this piece, is that all her poems are in lower case, and only use the . as punctuation. This is to reflect Gurmuki script; a Sikh script used to write in the Punjabi languages. Kaur chose to do this to reflect her heritage.
She currently has two publications to her name; milk and honey (which I own) was published in 2014, and the sun and her flowers which was published in 2017. milk and honey spent 77 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and has sold over 2.5M copies worldwide.
I think part of the reason that Kaur’s poetry is accessible is because it resonates with pretty much everybody. Her first book was divided into four sections; the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing; and I think anyone who has ever been in love can empathise with various emotions that are put across in the (usually) short poems. Her two collections are definitely books that everyone can enjoy, and can dip in and out of. You don’t need to “like poetry” (whatever that means) to find delight in many of her poems; they are great for someone who is perhaps just dipping their toe into the world of poetry, and wants to find out what some of it might be like.
Some of her poetry is lighthearted, but much of it has pretty powerful messages within.
trying to convince myself
i am allowed
to take up space
is like writing with
my left hand
when i was born
to use my right
p. 29 ‘milk and honey’
I think this poem resonates with women everywhere. Before we can actually achieve anything each day, we have to convince ourselves that we are allowed to. I don’t mean in a obvious way like standing in the mirror and saying ‘I am allowed to achieve’ (although that could work too). It is more the little things like being kind to yourself, knowing that you are allowed to be in a space, and you are allowed to be how you are. One way of putting this in perspective is to count how many times you say ‘sorry’ in any given day for something that is not your fault (i.e if someone wants to get past you/if someone bumps into you/if you’re in someone’s way for half a second/you open your mouth then someone else starts talking). Count it. I imagine the number will shock you. One of the things we can stop doing today, is stop apologising for taking up space.
i know i
for better reasons
but have you seen
the boy he brings
the sun to its
p. 51 ‘milk and honey’
I just think this poem is really lovely. It immediately sums up that rush of butterflies you get when you see a crush or a lover. It’s just really gorgeous imagery.
salt for sugar
if he wants to
be with you
it’s that simple
p. 85 ‘milk and honey’
It’s that simple. Something to remember. Everyone can make a choice; if they want to be there, they will be. I think sometimes it would be good if we could hold onto that. If someone is constantly letting you down by not showing up; perhaps it is them, and not you. This poem puts that very plainly, which I really like.
p. 126 ‘milk and honey’
I liked this one because it resonated with me personally. I think it also provides a warning for each reader telling them to be careful how you treat people. It’s not just a memory jog about the times when you were mistreated or left out in the cold, but a reminder that your actions can also effect others. I find it fascinated how an eight word poem could put two different perspectives and a message into it; but hey, that’s the beauty of poetry, even one word can pack a punch.
no books have
the spine to
‘the sun and her flowers’
I don’t have a page reference for this one. It’s entitled women of colour, and to be honest it speaks for itself.
‘milk and honey‘ on Amazon Books
‘the sun and her flowers‘ on Amazon Books
Author’s Note: This article has affiliate links in it. Any books bought with links from this site help me out a tiny bit, so if you were thinking of buying it anyway, I would be very grateful if you went off my blog. Besitos! I xx