Rupi Kaur’s “the sun and her flowers”

04.16.2018 Uncategorized
Michelle Lipper
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“if i am in the longest relationship

of my life

isn’t it time to

nurture intimacy

and love

with the person

i lie in bed with each night”

acceptance –– rupi kaur

the sun and her flowers, by Rupi Kaur is a book of poetry, but also a story about breakup, depression, and struggles with cultural identity and physical image. It explores how we heal and come back from the depths and how we thrive and grow into the new.

Separated into five flower-like sections: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming, Kaur takes us on a journey with every page turn. Some poems are only a few short lines while others are pages long. All of them evoke a clear image of what the author is feeling, and what she is encouraging us to feel for ourselves.

In the age of social media, one of the most unexpected things to come out of our incessant need to be online is the massive upsurge in popularity of something that has long been thought dead: poetry. Insta-poets are rising to the surface, some with followers up into the millions. Kaur is an exception only in that her published following is neck-in-neck with her virtual following. Adults and young adults alike connect with her poetry because it is built on raw, human emotion. Who amongst us hasn’t lost someone we loved? Who hasn’t felt sadness, self-doubt, questioned their belonging, and experienced death? What about the thrill that comes with the blossoming of hope in the form of a new love?

We can all feel what she feels. And that is why she has gone from Insta-screen to bookshelves to sold-out book tours. Rupi Kaur has made feeling relevant.

In this time of empowerment and uprising as women, as voices of our generation, and as change-makers, it is so important that we come to terms with our vulnerability and learn how to draw strength from it. Kaur has done that for herself through her poetry, and every time I read it I feel she is helping me do the same for myself.

The following are a few things you should know before cracking her book of poems open:

Rupi Kaur self-published her first collection of poetry, milk and honey when she was still in university —

A striking and raw tale of sexual abuse, suffering, and love it sat on the New York Times Bestseller List for 52 weeks and has sold over 2.5 million copies since it was discovered and re-published by a major publishing house.

She was born in Punjab, India, but her family emigrated to Canada as refugees when she was just one month old —

This was a time of diaspora for the Punjabi Sikhs, who were being slaughtered in massive genocide. The history and pain her family and people sustained still runs through her, and comes out in her writing and visual art.

All her illustrations and covers are designed and drawn by her —

She considers herself to be as much a visual artist as she does an author. She began drawing when she was five, and in high school started to incorporate art with her words.

She only uses lowercase letters and the punctuation mark of a period in her writing —

This is homage to her native language of Punjabi, which she says she can read and speak, but not write. In the ancient alphabet of Gurumukhi there are no capital letters and no other punctuations other than a period, and so she transferred those ideas to the language in which she expresses her poetry.

She’s on the New York Times Bestseller List… again —

When the sun and her flowers went on sale on October 3rd, 2017, it debuted at number one on the List, and has stayed since. Not bad for a 25-year-old girl who was told over and over again that no one cared about poetry anymore.

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