Rupi Kaur

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Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur by Baljit Singh.jpg
Born (1992-10-04) 4 October 1992 (age 28)
Punjab, India
Alma materUniversity of Waterloo (BA, 2015)[1]
OccupationAuthor, poet, artist, illustrator, performer

Rupi Kaur (born 4 October 1992) is an Indian-born Canadian poet, illustrator, and author. Kaur rose to fame on Instagram and Tumblr through sharing her short visual poetry.

She received widespread popularity, after the publication of her debut book Milk and Honey (2014), which went on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide and spent more than a year on The New York Times Best Seller list. In 2017, Kaur released her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers, leading her to be named on the BBC's 100 Women in 2017. Kaur's third poetry collection, home body, was released on Nov. 17, 2020.[2][3]

Her work explores relationships, the immigrant experience, and sexual trauma and is considered to be at the forefront of Instapoetry.[4][5][6] In 2019, The New Republic named Kaur the "Writer of the Decade".[7][8]

Early life[edit]

Kaur was born into a Sikh family in Punjab, India.[9] She immigrated to Canada with her parents when she was four years old.[6] Her father worked as a truck driver and her family eventually settled in Brampton.[6] She was inspired by her mother to draw and paint.[10] She continued her art into her teens, but at age seventeen, she shifted her focus to writing and performing.[11]

She attended Turner Fenton Secondary School,[12] before studying rhetoric and professional writing at the University of Waterloo.[13]


Early work (2009 - 2013)[edit]

Kaur notes her first performance to be in the basement of the Punjabi Community Health Centre in Malton around 2009.[14] Throughout her high school, Kaur shared her writing anonymously. From 2013 onward, she began sharing her work under her own name on Tumblr before taking to Instagram in 2014, in which she also started adding simple thematic illustrations.[15]

milk and honey (2014 - 2016)[edit]

Kaur's first book, an anthology titled milk and honey, was self-published on Createspace on 4 November 2014.[16][6] 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."[17] A collection of observations, prose, and hand-drawn illustrations, the book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter depicts a different theme.[13][18]

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[19] and is considered as among her more notable works; intended to challenge prevalent societal menstrual taboos.[20] They were pulled down for not complying with the site's terms of service.[20][21] Instagram brought back the images, citing a mistaken removal, and apologized to her after being criticized for displaying the very response that the works were intended to critique.[19][21][22][23][24] The incident is credited for bringing Kaur more followers and leading to the subsequent rise in popularity of her poetry.[25]

As Kaur rose to prominence on social media, milk and honey was re-released by Andrews McMeel Publishing.[6] Book sales of milk and honey surpassed the 2.5 million copy mark and it was the 8th bestselling fiction book in Canada in 2016.[26][27] As of February 28, 2021, the book has been listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for fiction paperbacks for 178 weeks.[28] Milk and Honey has since been translated into 25 languages.[15] In the United Kingdom, Kaur was credited with an increase in poetry sales seen in 2017.[29]

the sun and her flowers (2017 - 2019)[edit]

Her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers, was published on 3 October 2017.[30][31] As of January 5, 2020, the book has been listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for 76 weeks.[32] milk and honey was the best-selling book in Canada in 2017 and The Sun and Her Flowers was the 7th bestselling fiction book.[33] In 2018, The Sun and Her Flowers was the 9th bestselling book in Canada, with milk and honey placing 8th.[34]

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.[35]

home body (2020 - present)[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaur moved back in to her parents' house in Brampton and began teaching workshops on Instagram Live.[36]

Kaur released her new poetry collection, entitled home body, on Nov. 17, 2020.[2] The collection also features illustrations from Kaur.[2][37] It was the second best-selling Canadian fiction book of the week for three weeks after its release,[38][39][40] and remained in the top five into 2021.[41] It also reached #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list for fiction paperbacks,[42] and remained in the top spot for nine weeks and has remained on the chart for fourteen weeks since its release.[43][44]


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 said that she enjoys the equality of letters and that the style reflects her worldview.[10] Her written work is meant to be an experience that is easy for the reader to follow, with simple drawings to elevate her words.[45]


Kaur draws inspiration from Sikh scriptures.[13][46] The experience of learning English upon moving to Canada has influenced her writing style.[16] She is also influenced by her heritage. Part of her signature writing style includes a complete lack of capital letters, and the use of just one form of punctuation—the period. Both of these techniques are features of Punjabi which she has imported into her English writing as a way of connecting back to the place and culture of her origin.[11]

Poet Nayyirah Waheed has accused Kaur of plagiarism, a charge Kaur denies.[47] However, Kaur has stated she takes inspiration from Waheed.[48]


Kaur was listed in the BBC 100 Women in 2017.[3] In 2019, The New Republic named Kaur "Writer of the Decade".[7][8]

Authored articles[edit]

  • Rupi Kaur (16 December 2020). "History shows Punjab has always taken on tyrants. Modi is no different". Washington Post.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beyond Words". University of Waterloo. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Rupi Kaur to publish new poetry collection, home body, in Nov. 2020". CBC Books. 14 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b "BBC 100 Women 2017: Who is on the list?".
  4. ^ Leszkiewicz, Anna (6 March 2019). "Why are we so worried about "Instapoetry"?". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  5. ^ Khaira-Hanks, Priya (4 October 2017). "Rupi Kaur: the inevitable backlash against Instagram's favourite poet". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Fischer, Molly (3 October 2017). "The Instagram Poet Outselling Homer Ten to One". The Cut. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b Alam, Rumaan (23 December 2019). "Rupi Kaur Is the Writer of the Decade". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  8. ^ a b Culture; Books (2 January 2020). "Rupi Kaur may not be MY 'writer of the decade,' but that doesn't mean she isn't THE 'writer of the decade' | National Post". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  9. ^ Fischer, Molly (3 October 2017). "Meet Rupi Kaur, author of ubiquitous Milk and Honey". Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  10. ^ a b "bio | rupi kaur". Rupi Kaur. 17 November 2016. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b novels, Jeffrey Somers Jeff Somers is an award-winning writer who has authored nine; Stories, Over 40 Short; Rules, "Writing Without; Business, " a Non-Fiction Book About the; Writing, Craft of. "5 Surprising Facts About Rupi Kaur". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  12. ^ Nikita Brown (29 April 2018). "Poet Rupi Kaur Inducted Into Brampton's Arts Walk of Fame". Bramptonist. Archived from the original on 30 April 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "Milk & Honey: A Poet Exposes Her Heart". Kaur Life. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  14. ^ Kaur, Rupi (17 November 2016). "Biography of Rupi Kaur". Rupi Kaur's website. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Rupi Kaur Is Kicking Down the Doors of Publishing". The New York Times. 5 October 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  16. ^ a b Wilson, Carl (15 December 2017). "Why Rupi Kaur and Her Peers Are the Most Popular Poets in the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  17. ^ "faq | rupi kaur". Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Feminismo, violación y pérdida: así es la poesía de Rupi Kaur". La Vanguardia. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Student's final project goes viral and makes change happen - period". 7 May 2015.
  20. ^ a b Briscoll, Drogan. "Feminist Artist Rupi Kaur, Whose Period Photograph Was Removed From Instagram: 'Men Need To See My Work Most'". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  21. ^ a b Sanghani, Radhika (30 March 2015). "Instagram deletes woman's period photos - but her response is amazing". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Instagram post by rupi kaur • Mar 25, 2015 at 4:02am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  23. ^ "The picture Instagram didn't want you to see". The Independent. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  24. ^ Lese, Kathryn. "Padded Assumptions: A Critical Discourse Analysis Of Patriarchal Menstruation Discourse". James Madison University.
  25. ^ Carlin, Shannon (21 December 2017). "Meet Rupi Kaur, Queen of the 'Instapoets'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  26. ^ Roy, Nilanjana (23 February 2018). "Voices of the new 'Instagram poets': Love them or hate them, thy hold the stage". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  27. ^ "The bestselling Canadian books of 2016". CBC Books.
  28. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - Feb. 28, 2021 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  29. ^ Walker, Rob (7 October 2017). "'Now it's the coolest thing': rise of Rupi Kaur helps boost poetry sales". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  30. ^ The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, Andrews McMeel Publishing
  31. ^ Kaur, Rupi (October 2017). the sun and her flowers (First ed.). London, New York, Sydney, Toronto, New Delhi: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4711-6582-5.
  32. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction - The New York Times Best Seller list". The New York Times. 5 January 2020.
  33. ^ "Here are the bestselling books in Canada of 2017". CBC Books.
  34. ^ "The top 10 bestselling Canadian books of 2018". CBC Books.
  35. ^ Alter, Alexandra (29 December 2018). "New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out". New York.
  36. ^ "When COVID-19 hit, bestselling poet Rupi Kaur had writer's block — so she started teaching on Instagram". CBC Radio.
  37. ^ "The most exciting books coming out in fall 2020". CBC Books. 8 October 2020. Archived from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020. Home body is the third collection from bestselling poet Rupi Kaur. home body, which will also feature illustrations by Kaur, will explore the concept of self and reflect on home, mental health, love and acceptance.
  38. ^ "The bestselling Canadian books for the week of Nov. 15-21, 2020". CBC Books. 26 November 2020.
  39. ^ "The bestselling Canadian books for the week of Nov. 22-28, 2020". CBC Books. 2 December 2020.
  40. ^ "The bestselling Canadian books for the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2020". CBC Books. 9 December 2020.
  41. ^ "The bestselling Canadian books for the week of Dec. 27-Jan. 2". CBC Books.
  42. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - Dec. 6, 2020 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  43. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - Jan. 31, 2021 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  44. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  45. ^ "thetimesofindia". Rupi Kaur. 31 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  46. ^ Jain, Atishsa (22 October 2016). "A poet and rebel: How Insta-sensation Rupi Kaur forced her way to global fame". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  47. ^ Pop-Poet Rupi Kaur Isn't Worrying About Being Unique by Vivek Gopal and Sonal Shah, Vice, 30 April 2018.
  48. ^ BLACKIPEDIA: WHO IS NAYYIRAH WAHEED? by Team Cassius, Cassius, 19 April 2019.

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