Rupi Kaur, Here Is Why I Love You.
Let’s talk about a new kind of poetry…
Some may criticise Rupi Kaur’s poetic style, the way she splits her message up, calls a list a poem, or leaves only a handful of words on a page and walks away. To me, however, this is what makes her work so beautiful, because she takes risks. This art is evident in one of my favourite poems of hers, it reads:
except right here
and it hurts.
Every line holds an excruciating amount of detail, presenting the experience of heartbreak. “You’re everywhere”, in a time where everything you set your eyes upon can conjure a memory of someone, you see them and feel them in everything you do. “Except right here” the aching loneliness of not only a bed but an existence. “And it hurts”, there are no other words for it. No sweeping statements, no passionate outbursts of emotion, it just “hurts”.
In just 8 words Kaur is able to summarise one of the hardest, yet most common experiences; heartbreak. Heartbreak can be grief, betrayal, the end of a relationship, yet somehow Kaur is able to pinpoint the pain in all of these things. Kaur’s talent lies is in her ability to create a template. She says just enough for you to find your own meaning in her work, fit in beside her lines and pull her words close for comfort. Meaning, she balances you finding the exact sentiment you were looking for, and providing an outline that anyone can identify with.
Objectively, I can recognise that Rupi Kaur is a very talented writer,but I also have to acknowledge that my love and appreciation of her work is based on something very personal, she spoke to me and gave me the worlds that I needed to hear.
What is Stronger
than the human heart
which shatters over and over
and still lives.
When one experiences pain and loss there is a little voice in your head that urges you to shut yourself off under the pretence of protection. In these moments it’s easy to wallow in the pain or go numb. Feel all of it, and lose yourself in the grief, or feel nothing none of it, and lose yourself entirely. Yet this poem acknowledges that while your heart is ‘shatter[ed]’, and in that time it may feel like everything else has fallen apart, it ‘still lives’. It teaches you not to doubt the strength of your own heart, and thus your own strength; even when you cannot quite see how you learn that you can carry on.
Finally, the first poem I read of Kaur’s, the poem I think all parents should read to their children; sons and daughters alike. This poem embodies a perspective I wish more people had, and I wish society and the media could promote or at least empathise with.
I want to apologise to all the women I have called beautiful
before I called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that
This poem forced me to explore more of Kaur’s work because of the eloquence of her voice, she places bravery, wit, resilience and intelligence before something as trivial as beauty. To me this is the epitome of Kaur’s skill because she doesn’t put women down for being beautiful, she only forces the opinion that they are more than that, an issue men do not have to face in the same way. If people held this opinion no one would question if a gorgeous CEO slept her way to the top, because they would understand that she was there because was determined, and intelligent and more than a pretty face. That women everywhere are more than a pretty face. She holds her hands up and acknowledges that she too once recognised beauty in a woman before she saw their potential, but she is correcting and thus she is encouraging others to join her.
Rupi Kaur is an extremely talented and ambitious young woman, she says what we need to hear, and she does so in a unique and creative way. She’s allowed us to consume poetry in a casual form, letting us experience her work as we swipe through Instagram. Her short poems mean they’re not intimidating, not pretentious, not threatening. Even if my words have not resonated with you, or convinced you to give her a try, do it anyway. I am sure you would be able to find different values, voices, and meanings in her work to find what you need to hear.
by Taylor Everitt