Poet Rupi Kaur made her breakthrough on Instagram. When she compiled her poems and illustrations into a book, it became a worldwide bestseller. We wanted to get to know her better.
What really makes Rupi Kaur so unique, is that she made it to number one on The New York Times bestseller list with her poetry debut Milk and honey entirely on her own. She found her own audience without pursuing the usual channels of literary magazines, the publishing world and literary reviews.
The idea to compile her poems and publish them as a book had actually never occurred to her. For Kaur, poetry was something she created for others to hear, first as a musical band and later touring as a performer. This approach may be traced back to her roots in India: When she was four, she and her family moved from Punjab to Canada, ultimately settling in Toronto. Born into a Sikh family, this was the tradition Kaur grew up with. As a child, she was accustomed to reciting ritual texts, lines of poetry set to music, with other people.
When Kaur started writing her own texts, very personal poems addressing themes such as family, love and heartbreak, giving performances reciting this poetry was the most natural thing for her to do. She went on tour, visiting college campuses where she found an audience of kindred spirits. Occasionally, she posted sound or video recordings on YouTube or SoundCloud. She didn’t see paper as a suitable medium for communicating her message. This gradually changed when she started posting her poems on social media.
- Want to read the full article about Rupi Kaur? You can find it in Issue 27.
Text Chris Muyres