By Allison Wharton
Poetry has made a comeback.
Contemporary poets now personally submit their work on Instagram, thus creating the term
One of the most popular instapoets has transcended the platform and created a physical collection that has consistently appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list.
That poet is Rupi Kaur.
In 2014, Kaur released “Milk and Honey,” which re-introduced the world to contemporary, free-verse poetry that refers to heavy topics such as abuse, heartache and self-doubt. This book was widely praised and was on the Best Seller list for over a year. I am sure you’ve seen it referenced on Instagram.
Three years later, Kaur followed up with the highly anticipated second collection – “The sun and her Powers.” This collection is divided into five separate sections: wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It follows the theme of Powers and the process of them dying then blooming again. It is also accompanied with original illustrations by Kaur.
Like her first collection, Kaur writes about feminism, grief, immigration, family and empowerment. Each theme corresponds with one of the sections previously listed.
Her heartbreaking tone and vocabulary draw readers in. The poems are not specific to a certain situation in her life, creating room for interpretation. She has the gift of making every sentence relatable.
It is as if Kaur is a close friend and she is telling you her deepest feelings.
“Milk and Honey” showed her pain, and “The sun and her Powers” showcases how she’s healed and how she wants to use her poetry to inspire other women not to submit to objectification.
“I stand / on the sacrifices / of a million women before me / thinking / what can I do / to make this mountain taller / so the women after me / can see farther / – legacy.” Kaur takes pain and turns it into female empowerment. She encourages every woman to write her own story and to urge other others to do the same.
She dedicates a section to her immigrant parents and their strength to raise a family in a new country with no concept of the English language: “they have no idea what it is like / to lose a home at the risk of / never finding home again / to have your entire life / split between two lands and / become the bridge between two countries.”
The reader can see that Kaur left her heart in this collection. Her powerful words remain with the reader long after the book is closed. She brings the reader close to tears with her authentic expression of trauma, but then brings them back to the surface to see her triumphant return to self-love.
This collection lacks a chronological series of events, making the collection appear scattered. It instead shows what it means to find love again, not only with another person, but with yourself.
I recommend this collection to anyone who is searching for understanding, for a sense of camaraderie. Kaur not only understands those who are lonely, but offers comfort to them.