5 Volumes of Poetry That Inspire Rupi Kaur

Milk + HoneyIn the past several years, Rupi Kaur has electrified readers with her slim and powerful debut poetry collection, Milk and Honey. Kaur is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a fixture on the Amazon Best Sellers page (#6, as I write this), and a worldwide phenomenon who has perhaps single-handedly exposed more people to the immense emotion of poetry than anyone else since the turn of the twenty-first century.

Here Kaur shares five poetry collections that continue to inspire her.


The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran  – My all-time favourite collection of poems. I travel everywhere with this book. At its core it’s about elements we all deal with and experience throughout our lives. Whether it be love, parents, children, money, food, clothes, etc. Gibran’s diction teaches us to love. To share. And be our better selves. I always get a taste of the eastern world through his work. His poetry always roots me in my humanity.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou – A must read. Maya Angelou is one of the great mothers of American Poetry. All her poetry instills power and belief within a reader.

Odes by Sharon Olds  – I am a huge Sharon Olds fan. She has many many books and to be honest I can’t pick one over the other. But for the purposes of this list I picked her latest collection, Odes. In it, Olds writes Odes to the female body, Odes to the orgasm, and a long list of other Odes we never take the time out to make. One of the great feminist poets of our time.

The Butterfly’s Burden by Mahmoud Darwish  – Darwish is one of the greatest Palestinian poets. When he writes of love. When he writes of land. Or faith. It has the ability to dig right into your heart and make a home there. As an immigrant, his work is very reflective.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein  – Although most of us read Silverstein’s work when we were young children in school, I think his work is ageless and relevant just as much for adults. Some of my favourite books are children’s books. In fact I need to stop calling them children’s books because they have lessons within them relevant through all of adulthood. Silverstein like Gibran roots me within my humanity and his poetry makes me feel light and positive.

—Rupi Kaur


Rupi KaurRupi Kaur is a renowned author, poet, and multimedia artist based in Toronto, Canada. Kaur’s work engages with themes of love, loss, trauma, healing, and femininity, and is both deeply personal and universally relatable. Her work, visually suited for a sharing culture and one that communicates particularly well for platforms like Instagram, have turned her into a viral sensation, first within feminist communities, and then within the media ecosystem at large. Her prose is what will keep her as an important poet for decades to come.

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