Sophia Henry Contributing Writer
Rupi Kaur is a 27-year-old poet who self-published her way into unlikely success. Indian born, Canadian bred, Kaur began her writing journey towards authorship as a 21-year-old college student. She would write poems and make little doodles to go with them and posted these literary works on social media platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram. As a student at the University of Waterloo, studying rhetoric and professional writing, she would attend writing workshops.
With years of writing and performance experience under her belt, Kaur sought to broaden her horizons and publish her own book. She went to ask a creative writing professor for guidance on what is needed to begin that process and their response was “don’t bother.” It was simply too difficult. Poetry basically never got published,and she would get a better chance submitting individual poems in literary journals, magazines and anthologies. Then, when she asked if self-publishing could possibly bring a better chance to success, the response was an immediate no.
Kaur decided to take the advice of her professor and beings submitting individual pieces, with not one acceptance letter to be seen. Trying to stay positive, she kept looking at pieces to submit to then realize something. The way Kaur’s poems flow are not meant to be separated, but are meant to be read together. She then made the brave decision, of going against her “gatekeeper” and self-publish using a program called CreateSpace. Within about only one to two months she put together her first artistic masterpiece. In November of 2014, herself, and her friends and family went out and hand sold copies at local events and tried to get copies sold at local stores.
Therefore, her first book was born, “Milk and Honey.” The book not only landed on the New York Times bestseller list as #1, but blossomed into an international phenomenon that was translated into 35 different languages and sold over three million copies. Her collection now also includes: “The Sun and Her Flowers” and “Homebody.”
As I take a personal look at her work, her poetry is very simple. And I can assume that it is being sold so well because it’s easy to understand and its relatable.
When discussing poetry, most students shiver because we are all used to the complicated Shakespeare and medieval poets that are shoved down our throats each year of high school. Rupi Kaur’s work is a nice deep fresh breath from that. And it goes to show that although a publisher may not accept your work, it does not mean your talent is any less worthy.