It’s rare for a modern poet to achieve mainstream success, but with a cathartic collection of poetry and hand-drawn illustrations, Rupi Kaur is breaking literary boundaries.
Her long-awaited second collection, 'The Sun and Her Flowers', was released on October 3rd. It imparts a powerful voice to the female millennial, and evokes very specific and recognisable emotions to anyone struggling, anyone who has struggled, or anyone in search of self-empowerment (so essentially all of us).
A Canadian artist, Rupi Kaur’s experiences as an Indian immigrant in the Western world have evidently shaped her career. Her success rose rapidly on social media as she began by posting her words on Instagram, and now has a staggering 1.7 million followers. Kaur’s first collection of poetry, Milk and Honey, was self-published in 2014, and it was quickly picked up by publishing houses before becoming a New York Times bestseller, and rightfully so. Kaur is currently on tour with the collection.
She describes the sun and her flowers as a set of poems on “grief / self-abandonment / honouring one’s roots / love / and empowering oneself.” It is split into five chapters: “wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming”.
Ultimately, the sun and her flowers establishes prolific self-love
Kaur takes inspiration from ‘moments’, stories and individual experiences. She begins by tackling the ‘root’ of our own emotions, and tells us to accept the people around us for who they are, our ancestors and heritage. Ultimately, the sun and her flowers establishes prolific self-love. You are important.
Put yourself first. And so Kaur’s poetry reads like collective experiences of the modern women. She comments on on feminism, rape, mental illness and the female body, making the tribulation women have gone through, and are going through, well-documented.
But what makes it different to Milk and Honey? Topics are well-developed and there is an entire section on immigration and what it means to be a refugee. Politically relevant, she writes: “borders / are man-made / they only divide us physically / don’t let them make us / turn on each other - we are not enemies”. Police brutality is also approached, as is race: “my voice / is the offspring / of two countries colliding”.
Love and heartache are at the forefront of the collection, guiding the reader through their own journey
Nonetheless, you don’t have to be a women of colour to identify and empathise with Rupi Kaur’s poetry - “the irony of loneliness / is we all feel it” and “why is it / that when the story ends / we begin to feel all of it”. It is universal, and love and heartache are at the forefront of the collection, guiding the reader through their own journey.
Rupi Kaur speaks a truth that can be understood by everyone, and at the young age of 25, her poetry is a like a mantra, distinguishable, caring and healing. It makes you think about the world around you, and your own place within it.