what can I do to make this mountain taller, so the women after me, can see farther
– legacy, rupi kaur
Rupi Kaur, online poet extraordinaire, while shorter in stature, stands as a tall, beautiful mountain in front of a crowd of adoring fans as she defines her legacy, concluding the tour for her new book, the sun and her flowers.
At only 25, Rupi Kaur is a self-made woman of the 21st century. At 21, she self-published her first book, milk and honey, selling over 10 million copies before signing with her current publisher. Now on-top of the New York Times best-seller list, she started her poetry during her undergraduate degree, using social media and online platforms to share her message. Today, her 1.8 million Instagram followers are treated to samples of her prose, accompanied by drawings that Kaur uses to represent the emotion behind each one. Her love of design allows the enhancement of her poetry, allowing readers to experience her poetry in a five-sense experience.
“Art was my first love, poetry was my mistress”, Kaur states coyly during her performance.
While there were over 600 people at this final event, the setting was simple, intimate, and carefully curated to reflect Kaur’s powerful message. The title of her new book was reflected in the overall theme of the setting; Kaur’s sunflower dress, standing amongst red and white roses, and flowers on the few tables that were used as part of the set.
Within the first hour of her performance, Kaur is not afraid to address taboo issues, from breakups, to violence against women’s bodies to enjoying and appreciating the sensuality and beauty of owning your own body. “These are uncomfortable conversations”, she says as she pauses between proses, “but they are important ones”.
The incorporation of the political and activism is very prominent in her writing. The central tenets of her writing focus on intersectional feminism, and how brown women are portrayed in the media, while also using her talents for poetry to engage with current world issues. The most powerful aspect of her performance were the proses reflecting on her own immigrant experience, as she incorporated the stories of her own family’s struggle. In her final poem, Broken English, dedicated to her mother’s story of immigrating from India, she says, “It’s not embarrassing anymore, but art, the art of being here [in Canada].”
The crowd, made up by a majority of women, reflect on the power of her words.
“An examination of the full range of women’s experience.”
“The amount of people in the audience just show how many people share the same human story.”
The evening concluded with a Question and Answer period with host Komal Minhas, the only one Kaur has conducted during the whole of her book tour. Minhas, a filmmaker, creator, and owner of KoMedia, she has been recently produced Dream, Girl, which has garnered her international acclaim and has put her on Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 list.
These two creators traded energies on stage, as both discussed the importance of art entrepreneurship and being able to seize opportunities that present themself. In their final remarks both ladies remark on their influence for brown women, refugees, and second generation children. “You are allowed to take up space, to do what you want to do, and to be.”
Kaur remarks, “I want to be remembered for my deep connections with art and to express honestly and give people access to it. If I can do that, then I will be happy”.
Given the response of the event, with adoring fans cheering on in the crowd, the legacy left by both Rupi and Komal has only just begun.