Young writer Rupi Kaur found her female audience, launched her first book, and brought poetry on Instagram to a new level
Social media has helped Rupi achieve something she could not even dream for. Usually, the launch of a book of a first-time writer does not receive this much attention. However, Rupi’s case is special.
Kaur, 24, came from being a casual poetry writer to sell 1.4 million copies of her first book, entitled Mild and Honey. This type of story is almost unheard for a first-time writer. She was first self-published back in 2014, and then by a house in the following year. The poetry collection soon became a New York Times bestseller.
At the moment, Rupi is preparing her social media followers for her new anthology, which is about to come up in September.
She became Instagram famous after the social media platform banned a self-portrait photograph in which she was lying on a bed with menstrual bloodstained sheets. As expected, she took a stand against Instagram, highlighting the hypocrisy of a platform that hosted sexual images of women yet banned a typical female experience.
“My book would never have been published without social media,” she says. “I wasn’t trying to write a book, it wasn’t even in my vision. I was posting stuff online just because it made me feel relieved – as a way of getting things off my chest.” – Rupi Kaur
Her poetry book, Milk and Honey, is a collection of poems on several tough themes such as rape, violence, alcoholism, and trauma. However, it is written in Rupi’s trademark of short, simple verse, with her own illustrations acting as visual insights.
“People aren’t used to poetry that’s so easy and simple,” she mentions.
This is exactly why she succeeded in connecting in such a strong way with millions of young people all over the world. Her poetry does not need heavy analysis. It is easy to read and understand by anyone. She can better be compared with a rapper, who speaks his mind just how it is. One of her poems from Milk and Honey goes like this:
The thing about having
an alcoholic parent
is an alcoholic parent
does not exist.
who could not stay sober
long enough to raise their kids
She is currently on a tour that has took her to Britain, Spain, New Zealand, and, next month, Canada.Tickets to her performance sold out in less than 45 minutes for her appearance in Brighton, and less than 10 minutes in London.
“She has changed the way that a lot of us think about poetry – she’s dusted off its cobwebs. She really gets to the raw emotion of life – but puts it in a human way. It’s gorgeous.” said Daniella Bassett, 20
Rupi was born in Punjab, India, and moved to Toronto with her family when she was four. She soon started to love reading. However, with English as her second language, it was hard for her to understand most of the poetry. What she enjoyed most was cutting and pasting words and images, or simply filling up poems with drawings.