Rupi Kaur Is Empowering Women Through Her Poetry. This Is How She Plans On Spreading Her Message Globally.

Rupi KaurPhoto Credit: amrita singh

Rupi Kaur is one to watch. Best known for ‘milk and honey’, Kaur wrote, illustrated and self-published her first poetry collection as a young 21-year-old university student. Next came its artistic sibling, ‘the sun and her flowers’, which ranked top 3 on Amazon’s bestsellers list, along with Dan Brown and Oprah Winfrey. These collections have sold over 10 million copies and have been translated into over 42 languages, surpassing The Odyssey as the best-selling poetry. Her most recent book, ‘home body’, also debuted #1 on bestsellers lists across the world, further establishing her status as a global leader of poetry. Each of her collections continue to transcend the boundaries of time, age, race, and culture. Prior to the pandemic, Kaur executive produced and starred in her debut film, ‘Rupi Kaur Live’, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and, this month, is taking her show on the road globally in 41 cities across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, and Europe. This will be her biggest stage appearance yet on a global scale, as audiences will get the chance to see her perform some of her unpublished work, classic pieces, along with excerpts from her latest collection ‘home body’. To put it simply, Kaur’s body of work and journey is remarkable and she is undeniably a worldwide phenomenon. Her words remind us of how extraordinary women are, persevering against all odds, while delivering an important message of empowerment, bridging the gap between hope and reality during a time when we need it most. Here, we get to know this tour de force talent. 

Rupi KaurPhoto Credit: Nazih Ilyass

Your poems cover a range of topics and sentiments. How do you ultimately create an hour plus performance with so many different selections to choose from?

I ask myself this question when I sit down and start to write the show. The number of poems keeps increasing and the time I have on stage doesn’t. For this one, I knew that I wanted it to feel like a brand new show. I was going to perform old favorites but I’ve also written spoken
word pieces that I’ve never performed or published. Since I’ve performed most of my spoken word poetry in the Amazon Prime special I didn’t want people to think they were coming to the same show. So this show includes about 9 new spoken word pieces. The issue was that I got so excited about building the show around these new unpublished works that I had to remind myself that I need to pepper in the familiar pieces people have come to love over the years.

What are you most excited for audiences to experience during your show? What do you hope their takeaway will be?

I’m excited to see their reaction to the new poetry!! Since I’ve never performed any of these pieces, no one has ever read them so I have no clue about how people will react. I’m excited about the reaction and to connect with my audience. When I’m on stage and I have that connection in real life it brings me so much joy.

What has been the biggest learning moment for you over the past few years as you’ve grown as an artist?

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I want to do so many things and it feels the time to do all the things is right now. But I have learned to accept that I am just one person and I can only do so much over time. This is a realization I have come to accept over the last year. I am focusing on
what needs to be done right now and knowing that the other things will fall into place and the time will come when it comes.

Rupi KaurPhoto Credit: baljit singh

Who were and are some of your greatest inspirations when it comes to writing and performing?

I am so moved and so touched by Kahlil Gibran. I have read his poems a million times and it still hits me the same every time. There are some books that I read that immediately want me to go write a bunch of new poems. From the very beginning when I picked up “Three Women” by Lisa Taddeo, I felt Lisa’s book was so poetic in documenting what desire is like to women. A special mention for Musa Okwonga’s “In The End, It Was All About Love” – another great inspiration for me. I’m also really inspired by conversations, memoirs and people’s stories. When it comes to performing, any sort of live performer is inspiring. Whether that is someone in musical theatre, playing their sport in front of an audience, or a stand-up comedian. When someone is performing at their most excellent level no matter what the craft is, it’s a huge inspiration to me and makes me want to get on stage and do the same.

What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self OR to someone who aspires to follow your footsteps?

Everybody’s journey is different. Stay true to what feels right, do what feels right, and work really hard at it. But above all, value your physical and mental health, and never forget what truly makes you happy.

Which poem are you most excited to perform? Are there any new pieces that you’ll be sharing with audiences?

There are lots of new pieces, it’s hard to pick just one. I’m excited to perform all the spoken word pieces. They come near the end of the show and they are about friendship, channeling your inner sexiness, and there’s one I really like called “extraordinary” and it’s about working-class communities.