Rupi Kaur in 2017
|Born||4 October 1992|
Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India
|Notable works||Milk and Honey, The Sun and Her Flowers|
Rupi Kaur (born October 4, 1992) (Punjabi: ਰੂਪੀ ਕੌਰ) is an Indian-born Canadian poet, writer, illustrator, and performer. She immigrated to Canada as a child and has since settled in Toronto. Her debut book, a collection of poetry and prose titled Milk and Honey, was published in 2014; it sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide and spent more than a year on The New York Times Best Seller list. Her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers, was published in 2017.
Kaur was born into a Sikh family in Punjab, India. She emigrated to Canada with her parents when she was four years old. She was inspired by her mother to draw and paint. She attended Turner Fenton Secondary School. Kaur studied rhetoric and professional writing at the University of Waterloo. Later, she and her family moved to Brampton. She currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Throughout high school, Kaur shared her writing anonymously. In 2013, she began sharing her work under her own name on Tumblr. She took her writing to Instagram in 2014 and began adding simple illustrations.
Kaur's first book, a collection titled Milk and Honey (stylized as milk and honey), was published on November 4, 2014. Her inspiration for the book's name came from a past poem which included a line about women surviving terrible times. She describes the change in the women as, "smooth as milk and as thick as honey." A collection of poetry, prose, and hand-drawn illustrations, the book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter depicts a different theme.
Book sales of milk and honey surpassed the 2.5 million copy mark. The book was on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 77 weeks. Milk and Honey has since been translated into 25 languages.
Her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers, was published on October 3, 2017. Works in this collection explore a variety of themes including loss, trauma, healing, femininity, migration and revolution.
In 2019, she was commissioned by Penguin Classics to write an introduction for a new edition of Khalil Gibran's The Prophet, in anticipation of that book entering the public domain in the United States.
As in Gurmukhi script, her work is written exclusively in lowercase, using only the period as a form of punctuation. Kaur writes this way to honour her culture. She has said that she enjoys the equality of letters and that the style reflects her worldview. Her written work is meant to be an experience that is easy for the reader to follow, with simple drawings to elevate her words.
Common themes found throughout her works include: abuse, femininity, love, self-care, and heartbreak.
In March 2015, Kaur posted a series of photographs to Instagram depicting herself with menstrual blood stains on her clothing and bed sheets. Described as a piece of visual poetry, it formed her final project for her undergraduate studies and is considered as among her more notable works, intended to challenge prevalent societal menstrual taboos. They were pulled down for not complying with the site's terms of service. Instagram brought back the images, citing a mistaken removal, and apologized to her after being criticized for displaying the very response that the works intended to critique.
Kaur draws inspiration from various scholars including Kahlil Gibran, Alice Walker, and Sharon Olds. She has also been influenced by Sikh scriptures. The experience of learning English upon moving to Canada has influenced her writing style.
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- The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, Andrews McMeel Publishing
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