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Author Spotlight: Rupi Kaur

About the Author:

Rupi KaurAlong with Amanda Lovelace, I credit Rupi Kaur for getting me back into reading poetry after going separate ways with the creative outlet during my teenage years. I heard about her poetry through pretty much everyone on #bookstagram, and I fell in love with it and her illustrations.

While critics say otherwise, I find Kaur’s poetry emotionally powerful and influential on our generation. She is an own-voices poet who discusses many current issues and topics in her work, giving women of all ages a voice to connect to in an accessible way. Pairing them with simplistically beautiful sketched illustrations, her collections are ones that I highly recommend. Additionally, she plans to release another collection in September 2020, so I’ll be keeping my eyes out for it’s reveal, and will certainly share when I get my hands on it.

Novels

Milk and Honey
Published: November 4, 2014, Createspace

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: love, relationships, heartbreak, diversity, equality.

img_6763Kaur’s compilation of poetry is broken down into four parts: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Each section is equally sensual, honest, and powerful, yet has it’s own tone that reflects the title part it resides in. The imagery is aided with simplistic illustrations that either represent the poem, or are actually part of the poem. I love that as I’m a visual person, and I found the artistry two-fold. Not only can Kaur stun you with her words, but she can also stun with her drawings- impressive in my book (no pun intended).

Themes within the poems include relationships, loss, abuse, love, encouragement, and healing. I found the format interesting- each poem is written in small caps with no punctuation or capitalization, but italics are used for specific emphasis. Also, each poem is written out, then, signature style, signed with a title at the end as either as a dedication or sort of summary of the poem. There are also some really steamy poems, so be ready to blush! It’s hard to choose a favorite poem because they’re all lovely in their own way. If I had to pick a top three, I really loved women of color, to the reader, and the one about apologizing for calling women pretty.

The Sun and Her Flowers
Published: October 3, 2017, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: love, relationships, heartbreak, diversity, equality.

I happened to be sick when I finally got a chance to read this collection, thinking along the lines of reading short pieces of poetry would be easier than trying to accomplish reading a whole novel in between 4 hour naps. I adored my first taste of Kaur’s poetry with Milk and Honey, so I truly looked forward to her second collection.

img_9587The poems within the collection are broken into five sections: Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising, and Blooming.

In Wilting and Falling, Kaur goes into detail about the feelings of loss and grief. There were two poems that really resonated with me in this section that I flagged, but there could have easily been more.

Rooting is the shortest section, but it’s an homage to the current state of the world- of the oppression of minorities, of the urgency for equality, and a reflection/observation of injustice. It also pays tribute to Kaur’s parents and her culture. For me, I found this section the hardest to digest because there are parts of this I will only ever be able to empathize for, due to the privileges of my race and social class. But, I found such love in the writing, especially in the sections of prose about Kaur’s mother, and the sacrifices she made so that Kaur would have “a better life”.

My favorite section, Rising, is about love and kindness, of facing what lies ahead and trusting in yourself. This section got me all choked up and mushy, mostly because I had just been through the first three sections with heavy emotions, and then this section gave me hope. Despite all the rough things you go through, hope will carry you through it.

Blooming is about loving yourself, of knowing your worth, and it definitely puts a period at the end of the statement made by the entire collection. It’s also the section that made me cry. I am an emotional person, but I usually keep a pretty good hold on anything that emits sadness. Yet, Kaur writes something like this…

“it isn’t blood that make you my sister
it’s how you understand my heart
as though you carry it
in your body”

…and boom, water works.

Overall, this collection is just as beautiful as Kaur’s first, easily bringing emotions to the surface for me. I marked so many pages to that I will have to go back and reread, and am glad to have purchased the copy for my personal library. I also still love the addition of sketch artwork alongside the poetry, and find it complimentary and individually beautiful. I definitely recommend that anyone should read this, in the hopes that you’ll find comfort among the pages, no matter what you’re going through.

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Categories: Author Spotlights, Culturally Diverse, Poetry

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1 reply

  1. I really enjoyed this post:) I found her poetry collections really emotive and moving too – I definitely don’t think that poetry has to be excessively abstract and inaccessible to be deep and meaningful! I wrote a review of her poetry on my blog too if you fancy a read:) https://onelliesbookshelf.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/the-sun-and-her-flowers-by-rupi-kaur/

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