Rupi Kaur set the internet on fire when she introduced readers to her raw, minimalist poems on Instagram in 2014. The 25 year old emigrated from India to Canada at the age of 4. She now has over 1 million followers and has paved the way for the new generation of poetry.
However, social media and poetry has not always worked in her favor. After the release of her No. 1 New York Times Best Seller “Milk and Honey,” Kaur received backlash and was the victim of cyber bullying. Kaur has been accused of exploiting the hardships that women go through for sales, and critics claim she skimps on depth in order to reach a larger audience. But Kaur’s intention is to stray from convention with her poetry.
Kaur’s long-awaited second collection of poetry explores loss, love, healing, mental illness and honoring one’s roots. Her words are deeply heart felt, relatable and innovative.
The new collection of poems that Kaur constructed varies in length — some are as short as three lines, while others cover the entire page. This variation captures the readers’ attention and allows them to take the time to fully understand what she is trying to teach.
“The Sun and Her Flowers” was released on Oct. 3 and includes five flower-related chapters titled wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. In these chapters, themes of grief, self-abandonment, honor, roots, love and self-empowerment are present.
A standout chapter of the poetry book is the section called “rooting.” In this chapter Kaur talks about her personal family struggles.
Kaur opens up about her life in India and gives readers background information on her family members. In this chapter it is learned that her parents were born and raised in Punjab, India, and immigrated to Canada where they struggled to provide for Kaur and her siblings. In her poems Kaur focuses on the long-distance relationship her parents had to maintain for years in order to provide for their family.
A well-constructed and touching poem in the chapter “Roots” was "broken English." In this poem Kaur tells readers who have immigrant parents to not be ashamed of their parents' broken English —after all, they sacrificed their lives for them.
This is a powerful message that many can relate to. With this Kaur wants to coax readers out of their negative mindsets related to immigration, because it can be damaging to children of immigrant families.
“The Sun and Her Flowers” may not be for a person looking for classical poetry. However, Kaur and many other social media poets pose the question — what is poetry?
Many individuals think poetry consists of poetic devices such as metaphors and similes. This collection of poetry pushes the boundaries and explores atypical poetry. “The Sun and Her Flowers” displays that anything can be considered poetry, it is just up to the reader to decide if they like it or not.