Lifestyle Tell us when you first felt the need to
poet”, “Instagram poet”, “pop poet”... How
write down your thoughts on paper.
difficult was it for you to open up and
As a child who read obsessively, I naturally began to write little poems from a young age. It wasn’t till middle school that I began to write poetry. I would write for friends on their birthdays, or for boys I had crushes on. In high school, poetry became a political act. I wrote about what I felt was wrong in the world and what I wanted to change. In university, I began to do a lot more reflection.
undress emotionally when you began
“Milk And Honey” was primarily self published and success grew day by day until the moment when Andrew McMeel Publishing bought the rights, which led to the book becoming globally popular. Has this experience taught you patience? What were your expectations when the book was published for the first time?
It definitely has. I laugh to myself thinking about it because I think it was kind of like a marriage. Coming together with them has been absolutely wonderful. But we’ve had to take a lot of time to learn about each other, how we work, and chart out a path for our future. They’re all experiences I’m deeply thankful for. They’ve pushed me forward as a person - not just “Rupi, the poet”. When the book first got published I knew AMP would take it to a larger audience, and I was so excited about that. But never did I imagine milk and honey could become what it has today. Honestly, I am working with a team who is deeply dedicated to the message. I think that has a lot to do with how far it’s come. When people believe in something they put in that little extra touch to spread magic. Together with your name we can often see descriptions such as “Internet
52 l mart
to share your experiences through poems with a growing audience on the Internet?
I began to post online because I felt it gave me a voice. So much of what I was writing about, I had never said out loud before, I didn’t feel I could say it out loud. Posting online was my expression. It was cathartic to share, and social media was a medium to do it through. Much of my growth as a writer came during the time I was sharing more and more. I was studying writing and rhetoric at the University of Waterloo, reflecting more about my personal life, while attempting to understand the experiences I and the women around me were going through. So I learned about social media in the midst of all this. I believe, there’s more democratization of content with less gatekeepers than in other mediums. It can be problematic but it does allow for folk from all walks to life to have a voice. As an artist, you write what you want to write about, and your readers gravitate towards you. There’s nothing standing in your way. This is really important for work from marginalized or underrepresented communities. People who don’t look like us are often the gatekeepers of more traditional platforms. However, there is a desire for such work and here, social media has helped in leveling out the playing field. In what amount did social networks influence your role in society?
I think it’s given me a platform where I now have an audience- hence a responsibility to share messages that are thought provoking and will push people and critical thinking forward.
Published on Mar 13, 2017