Instagram poet Rupi Kaur opened up about writing about domestic violence
When you think of the words “milk” and “honey,” what comes to mind? Probably the sweet poetic sensation Rupi Kaur. Her first book Milk and Honey broke the internet and The New York Times best sellers list for 78 weeks in a row. It’s one of our favorite poetry collections that makes us feel every feeling (all of them).
Now, Kaur is back with The Sun and Her Flowers, a brand new collection — which just debuted at #1 on the very same list. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the feminist poet opened up about traumatic experiences such as domestic violence. And her honesty is one of the reasons we admire her so much.
“Sometimes you write a piece, maybe it’s about domestic violence, and you put it out into the world and you feel really, really naked,” Kaur told EW. “You start to doubt yourself a little bit. But when somebody reaches out and they tell you that this piece meant so much or that it’s helped them, then you feel good about it.”
After the success of Milk and Honey, the response from fans was extraordinary.
In an attempt to connect with them, Kaur began to try and respond to all the fan mail she received on Instagram, but it came with a price of peace.
“So after like a year of reading [these messages] — you don’t think that you’re carrying other people’s weight, but then you are, because you’re tired all the time, and then you’re sad all the time," Kaur continued. "And you’re like, “Okay, but why am I sad? Because I feel like x, y, and z has happened, but it hasn’t.
Kaur connects with her fans on social media when she can, though she recognizes the importance of professional support when it comes to traumatic experiences and pain.
“It got to a point where I was like, 'I’m not allowed to give advice about certain things.' So that was my response: 'I feel your pain, and I want you to feel good and I want you to be happy, but I cannot advise on certain things. Here are the hotlines or resources to go to.'"
Social media is so embedded into our everyday lives, it’s hard to disconnect from it and connect with ourselves. Kaur understands the power of being in tune with yourself and not allowing social media to consume you. She doesn’t even have social media on her phone.
“Either I can take a step back and not respond and just send thank you’s and put my time into working on a collection because I feel like that would help more people, or I’m just going to get stuck responding to people full time and be stuck in a dark place that I worked really hard to get out of.
Then, Kaur explained why she thinks she’s so influential on social media.
"I think that it’s resonating with people because… I mean, why would it not? We’re talking about real human experiences, in a time where, because of social media and media in general, we’re so plugged in that we’re almost not plugged into ourselves," Kaur continued. "So this poetry on this medium which we’re always plugged into is almost like looking into a mirror. And it gives people space to suddenly do that inner reflection, which I think is a big reason for why it’s moving the way that it is. And I think that’s absolutely incredible. Poetry is amazing, and it should be mainstream, and I hope that it can only move in that direction more and more.
We couldn’t agree more. You can purchase a copy of The Sun and Her Flowers here.