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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Healing Through Words by Rupi Kaur

Exploring oneself through any artform is a thoroughly mindful experience. To be able to create something beautiful and unique out of the mess of anxiety, emotions and worldly pressure that is so ubiquitous is a wonderful thing.

Rupi Kaur allows this through her own journey from obscurity to Instagram fame where her following of poetry has taken her to giddy heights. The original ‘instapoet’, Kaur has made an impression with her (often) short, but beautifully composed lyrical poems that speak to the world in which young people exist. As a teacher it is easy to spot some of her work coming through in the creative writing compositions that have sprung into existence over the past couple of years.

Simple is not to be confused with any less impressive. There is a tremendous use of specificity in Kaur’s writing, and her poems often speak on multiple levels to the careful observer. They are, however, nearly always simple to comprehend on a surface level on first reading - and therefore she is able to give a feeling of success and comprehension to the reader. But look closer, and you see a whole world of exploration behind each specific word chosen. Even the etymology of each word is carefully crafted. As an analogy, Churchill is well known to have been explicit in his word choices in speeches during the war, ensuring that Anglo Saxon words were always preferenced over those with Germanic origin. So too, Kaur seems to possess the innate ability to be targeted with her choices.

In this book, Kaur opens the door to her process, allowing others to follow in her footsteps, point by point. She allows people to recognise their own responses to ideas and suggestions, and then to document those through exercises, lists, and some wonderful techniques for writing poetry. Her method is sound and her approach is commendable. It is so important that there is an outlet - particularly for young people - to explore the increasingly complex issues that they must regulate in their own consciousness. They are truly in between two worlds, the traditional, and the emerging.

The focus is not on Kaur’s own poetry, although there are a few previously unpublished works peppered throughout the hardcover book. It is beautifully presented and thoughtfully adorned with space for the reader’s own writing, as well as the famous illustrations that have become a major part of Kaur’s success as a modern poet.

It is not hard to see why her success has been so immense. She is a force of modern poetry, and the more that we can encourage others to be involved in the art form, the better.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Simon & Schuster


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