Rupi Kaur Quotes

  1. I want to leave behind a literary legacy.
  2. With immigrant parents, they’ve had to sacrifice so much to survive, and they’re trying to preserve the culture they lost, so there are just so many boundaries.
  3. I love Roald Dahl, Sharon Olds, Nizar Qabbani, who is a poet, and Junot Diaz.
  4. There have been articles saying that all women need to read my book. I ask, why not all men? In fact, that would be even more valuable because we women want to sit down with men and tell them – this is how we feel, this is what we go through.
  5. I used to submit to anthologies and magazines when I was a student – but I knew I was never going to be picked up.
  6. Being that my parents and I were immigrants to Canada, I didn’t have the most lavish life growing up.
  7. When writing for the page, the focus is on the design – how the words appear on the page. I try to make it as direct and simple as possible.
  8. You have to really understand that although certain memories or stories make you sad, you are not sad. Pull yourself out from that emotion and remember that.
  9. I would give anything to sing like Beyonce or Adele. I’ve said many times to my friends that if I could sing like them, I would give up poetry and writing.
  10. When things get better, there’s a swing to the pendulum where things get worse for others.
  11. My favourite character in fiction was probably either James from ‘James and the Giant Peach’ or Ender from ‘Ender’s Game.’ They were just ordinary people who were living under various amounts of struggle, and just to follow their journeys and see them break out of that and live extraordinary lives – I think that gave me a lot of hope as a kid.
  12. Why are brown women bullying brown women for body hair? Why are brown women bullying brown women for the same traits we all have?
  13. I have always been a fan of Salvador Dali, but Amrita Sher-Gil, who was an Indian-Hungarian painter, is another favourite. She was painting Indian women, and, growing up here, I’d never seen anyone paint Indian women, so that was really incredible to see a painting of someone who looks like you. I think that has a lot of impact on you.
  14. My writing is a product of how I would interact with things that have happened to me or things that have not happened to me but have happened to somebody else.
  15. I sat with myself one day and asked, ‘Who is in those prestigious literary circles? Do they represent me? Do they appreciate the topics I write about and the style in which I write? Do those gatekeepers let a demographic like mine through the door?’ And the answer was no.
  16. Really, at the end of the day, the only thing you can control is yourself; the only person you can truly educate is yourself. You have to redefine what beauty is to you so you can’t be affected by what people are saying.
  17. I realize I’m blessed to have the luxury of being a full-time writer. Not many people have that.
  18. I feel social media can be very distracting, unhealthy, and harmful to one’s self-confidence. I don’t even log on to it on my phone except when I post something on Instagram.
  19. Before I begin to write, I listen to music that inspires me. I listen to folk Punjabi music, sufi music.
  20. People like that I wrote a book – that’s cute, but oh, making a business out of it? That’s not nice.
  21. How do you redefine love when your idea of love is something that’s so violent? When your idea of passion is anger, how do you fix that?
  22. My dad studies and practices homeopathy and Ayurveda medicine. He’s a strong believer in both honey and milk as forms of healing. Honey is the one food that does not die. It does not expire. Growing up, he’d always be mixing up almonds or turmeric or gram flower with milk to cure a cough or a cold.
  23. I haven’t had the opportunity to study visual art, but it was always my first love when it came to artistic expression. I started drawing and experimenting with visual art when I was 5.
  24. I wasn’t trying to write a book; it wasn’t even in my vision. I was posting stuff online just because it made me feel relieved – as a way of getting things off my chest.
  25. Just because someone tells you they love you, it doesn’t mean they actually do.
  26. I’ve been thinking a lot about the journey of my parents – just seeing the sacrifices they’ve made to allow me to do what I do. How much of a difference their sacrifices have made through the generations.
  27. ‘Milk and Honey’ was written with me being honest to myself, kind of pulling at the things that I hear the most and saying that out loud, and you know, that thing that we hear the most is most universal, and so that rings true with all folks. The language used in the poetry is extremely, extremely accessible.
  28. ‘You’re beautiful’ was the compliment I craved so much. I didn’t care if people called me smart or innovative – it was the number-one compliment I gave out to other women hoping it was given back to me. I heard people saying it to my best friends. It was the one I wanted to hear more than anything else.
  29. I was born in India, and we came from a poor family and lived in a rural village. My dad came over to Canada as a refugee, and years later, we were able to join him.
  30. My heart is beating, and I’m breathing, and nothing anybody has ever done has changed that.
  31. Social media has been such a big platform for my success. But it can also be a toxic place.
  32. I think social media is… really cool in the sense that I don’t think that a writer like me would’ve found a readership if maybe Instagram wasn’t there.
  33. The pain that all people experience in life and the light that helps them champion through it all – it’s their lives and their stories and their love and will to keep living that moves me to write.
  34. I won the speech competition in class, and I always say this was my first ‘spoken word performance.’ It was the first time I got on stage and recited something. I fell in love with the stage at the age of 12.
  35. For me, the power of the poetry in ‘Milk and Honey’ is the feeling you get after finished reading the poem. It’s the emotion you feel once you’ve read the last word, and that is only possible when the diction is easy, and you don’t get stuck on every other word, you don’t know what the word means.
  36. I felt voiceless for so long, I wasn’t ever able to say what I felt out loud. I didn’t know how to say it. Posting online presented itself as a comfortable medium. I could say what I wanted to say in a way I still felt comfortable. Whenever, however I wanted to.
  37. When I’d hang out with guy friends, I’d say things like ‘I just don’t get along with other girls.’ Just so they could think I was cooler, you know? Shamelessly trying to level myself up by putting other women down. God it’s so embarrassing to admit, but it’s important cause I want people to know about the growth. That I’m not perfect.
  38. The trauma of South Asian people escapes the confines of our own times. We’re not just healing from what’s been inflicted onto us as children… it is generations of pain embedded into our souls.
  39. My parents didn’t allow me to do all the things the cool kids could do. I was quiet, reserved, and at some points, taken complete advantage of simply because of my sex and gender. For a while, in high school, I was so deep into self-hate.
  40. I think I finally overcame my self-esteem and confidence issues at around 20.
  41. Feeling ‘ugly’ or ‘unattractive’ seeps into your life like poison, and it affects everything. Feeling worthless does the same. We internalise these limitations, and it takes an internal revolution to get rid of them.
  42. I grew up thinking I was going to change the world, but not because I was treated like a special snowflake. It’s a silly label. People are starving. We need to feed them. That’s the end of the conversation.
  43. Growing up, I naturally embraced who I was, but I was always battling with myself. So I spent half my time being proud of being a woman and the other half completely hating it.
  44. I can sit down with my sisters, and they can talk about my body in a certain way, and I will laugh about it with them. That’s such a comfortable and loving relationship. But if a stranger I meet in a party makes the same comment, depending on their tone, that’s not okay.
  45. Truth, honesty, empowerment – it’s what I want for myself and my readers.
  46. I did not start out thinking I’m going to become a feminist poet. It was a tag I was given.
  47. I always wrote stories, but I do remember a particular moment in middle school where I became passionate about essay writing.
  48. If I body-shame a woman, it is more a reflection of me being critical of my body, me not being able to keep up to certain standards I have, and so making sure that the women around me feel the same way.
  49. I think I only started to speak to people in grade four.
  50. A lot of Indian fathers don’t know how to show affection. My parents really do love me, even though my dad has never been able to say those words to me.
  51. The topics just kind of come to me. If they are relevant, it’s because they’re happening in the world around me, and it’s affecting me. Poetry is my way of dealing with it.
  52. In high school, I started saving up to get a nose job, which is so ridiculous. I had this job at Tim Hortons, and I was trying to save up $10,000 for a nose job.
  53. When I was little, my dad told me about Anandpur Sahib and the court of Guru Gobind Singh. That we came from a tradition of poets, warriors and artists who created when it was illegal to create… we’re groomed to be reckless in the defense of what we feel is right.
  54. I like B.C. because it’s so beautiful, but I think Toronto’s the greatest place because every corner of the world is here.
  55. I’m a brown girl from a Punjabi pind raised in Toronto. I don’t expect literary critics and purists to understand the nuances of my experiences, and the experiences of the people around me… And my tradition holds that there is a magic in the written word. So how I write, what I write of, and why I write all comes naturally.
  56. For some of my young female readers, it will be the first time they will have seen a Punjabi author be successful in the West. Because I’m dealing with topics that aren’t always easily discussed, I know they will look up to me, because I would have done the same. So I just want to make sure I do right by them, wherever this takes me.
  57. There was no market for poetry about trauma, abuse, loss, love, and healing through the lens of a Punjabi-Sikh immigrant woman.
  58. I don’t fit into the age, race, or class of a bestselling poet.
  59. I can go to all these cool places around the world, but when we land at YYZ, I’m like, ‘Yes! It’s flat. It’s concrete. I’m okay with this; my people are here.’
  60. My gut is so strong. I feel like I have a lot of books in me, and they’re going to come out because I said so. It’s going to happen.
  61. Poetry and art are key influences in changing how we look at taboos.
  62. It was tough to cope with the pressure of having to talk about menstruation, but now with ‘Newsweek’ splashing it as the cover story, I thing the point I wished to make has found its mark.
  63. Why are we so terrified of a natural process that allows for life to be brought into this world? Why do we scramble to hide our tampons when we pull them out of our purses?
  64. We are not outraged by blood. We see blood all the time. Blood is pervasive in movies, television, and video games. Yet, we are outraged by the fact that one openly discusses bleeding from an area that we try to claim ownership over.
  65. The way a small child might dream of visiting Disneyland, I dreamed of writing books. Never did I think my poems would become that.
  66. I want to create a collection, almost like a trilogy of sorts. Whereas ‘Milk and Honey’ was very much like holding a mirror up to yourself, the second book is turning that mirror around and fixing it on the world. The book is a reflection of the times we are in.
  67. I was always writing for myself. I wrote what I needed to write and hear – that’s what makes it powerful.
  68. I write from the various experiences I live. Not every poem comes from my personal experience, though. It could be something that a friend lived, or a person from my community here, or a woman anywhere around the world.
  69. I wasn’t entitled to dream so big. The idea of me being a writer wasn’t even possible in my mind. Even when I began to write and first published, I couldn’t call myself a writer.

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