Rupi Kaur

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Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur by Baljit Singh.jpg
Born (1992-10-04) 4 October 1992 (age 27)
Punjab, India
ResidenceToronto, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Waterloo (BA, 2015)[1]
OccupationAuthor, poet, artist, illustrator, performer

Rupi Kaur (born 4 October 1992) (Punjabi: ਰੂਪੀ ਕੌਰ) is an Indian-born Canadian poet and performer.

Her works have been at the forefront of Instapoetry, a new genre of social-media-centered genre of short and easily accessible poetry.[2][3] She received widespread popularity after the publication of her debut book Milk and Honey (2014) which went on to sell over 2.5 million copies worldwide and spent more than a year on The New York Times Best Seller list. She has been further subject to widespread scholarly attention and media fame, after using menstrual blood to create varied forms of visual poetry.

However, critical reviews of her literary works have been observedly negative. Some of the main reoccurring themes reviewers seem to cite problems with are Kaurs' apparent lack of poetic form and depth.[4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Kaur was born into a Sikh family in Punjab, India.[8] She immigrated to Canada with her parents when she was four years old. She was inspired by her mother to draw and paint.[9]

She attended Turner Fenton Secondary School,[10] before studying rhetoric and professional writing at the University of Waterloo.[11]



Kaur notes her first performance to be in the basement of the Punjabi Community Health Centre in Malton around 2009.[12] 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, wherein she also started adding simple thematic illustrations.[13]


Kaur's first book, an anthology titled Milk and Honey (stylized as milk and honey), was published on 4 November 2014.[14] 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."[15] A collection of observations, prose, and hand-drawn illustrations, the book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter depicts a different theme.[11][16]

Book sales of milk and honey surpassed the 2.5 million copy mark.[17] The book was on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 77 weeks.[18] Milk and Honey has since been translated into 25 languages.[13]

Her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers, was published on 3 October 2017.[19][20] Works in this collection explore a variety of themes including loss, trauma, healing, femininity, migration and revolution.[21]

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.[22]

She currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.[23]


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.[9] Her written work is meant to be an experience that is easy for the reader to follow, with simple drawings to elevate her words.[24]

Common themes found throughout her works include abuse, femininity, love, self-care, and heartbreak.[25]

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[26] and is considered as among her more notable works; intended to challenge prevalent societal menstrual taboos.[27] They were pulled down for not complying with the site's terms of service.[27][28] 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.[26][28][29][30][31]


Kaur draws inspiration from Sikh scriptures.[11][32] The experience of learning English upon moving to Canada has influenced her writing style.[14]

Poet Nayyirah Waheed has accused poet Kaur of plagiarism, a charge Kaur denies.[33] However, Kaur has stated she takes inspiration from Waheed.[34]


Kaur was listed in the BBC 100 Women in 2017.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beyond Words". University of Waterloo. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  2. ^ Leszkiewicz, Anna (6 March 2019). "Why are we so worried about "Instapoetry"?". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "The Problem With Rupi Kaur's Poetry". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  5. ^ Watts, Rebecca (January 2018). "The Cult of the Noble Amateur". P. N. Review. 44 (3).
  6. ^ Leeder, Karen (3 July 2018). "'I am a Double-voiced […] Bird': Identity and Voice in Ulrike Almut Sandig's Poetry". Oxford German Studies. 47 (3): 329–350. doi:10.1080/00787191.2018.1503471. ISSN 0078-7191.
  7. ^ Lloyd, Andrew (13 September 2019). "I Faked My Way as an Instagram Poet, and It Went Bizarrely Well". Vice. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  8. ^ Fischer, Molly (3 October 2017). "Meet Rupi Kaur, author of ubiquitous Milk and Honey". Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b "bio | rupi kaur". Rupi Kaur. 17 November 2016. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b c "Milk & Honey: A Poet Exposes Her Heart". Kaur Life. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "faq | rupi kaur". Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Feminismo, violación y pérdida: así es la poesía de Rupi Kaur". La Vanguardia. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Mzezewa, Tariro (5 October 2017). "Rupi Kaur Is Kicking Down the Doors of Publishing". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  19. ^ The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, Andrews McMeel Publishing
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "about | rupi kaur". Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  22. ^ Alter, Alexandra (29 December 2018). "New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out". New York.
  23. ^ "How Rupi Kaur Became the Voice of Her Generation". Flare. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  24. ^ "thetimesofindia". Rupi Kaur. 31 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  25. ^ "milk and honey Themes -". eNotes. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Student's final project goes viral and makes change happen - period". 7 May 2015.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ a b Sanghani, Radhika (30 March 2015). "Instagram deletes woman's period photos - but her response is amazing". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  29. ^ "Instagram post by rupi kaur • Mar 25, 2015 at 4:02am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  30. ^ "The picture Instagram didn't want you to see". The Independent. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  31. ^ Lese, Kathryn. "Padded Assumptions: A Critical Discourse Analysis Of Patriarchal Menstruation Discourse". James Madison University.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Pop-Poet Rupi Kaur Isn't Worrying About Being Unique by Vivek Gopal and Sonal Shah, Vice, 30 April 2018.
  34. ^ BLACKIPEDIA: WHO IS NAYYIRAH WAHEED? by Team Cassius, Cassius, 19 April 2019.
  35. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2017: Who is on the list?".

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