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Her Campus x Rupi Kaur: Exclusive Press Conference

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

On Monday, August 29th, Her Campus had the pleasure of hosting a press conference with Rupi Kaur, a Canadian poet, illustrator, photographer, and New York Times bestselling author known for her first book Milk and Honey. At this exclusive press conference, Rupi discussed her fourth book Healing Through Words as well as answered several questions about her writing process and the meaning behind this new book, which takes a different approach than her usual poetry.

With her first release Milk and Honey in 2014, Rupi Kaur experienced a high level of unexpected success and soon was under contract to write The Sun and Her Flowers and Home Body, which to no surprise also became bestsellers. Rupi describes Healing Through Words as being the first time she did not feel any pressure or obligation to release a bestselling book with millions of dollars in sales. Rupi states that writing this book felt different as she initially began writing it as a personal tool to help break her writer’s block, but decided that this would be a gift to her audience once she realized it could help them too. 

When she couldn’t find those helpful tools that went deep enough, she began to go back to both her poetry and those of other writers she enjoyed and created workshops out of them. After being left with feelings of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, she created exercises for herself and shared them through Instagram live, which she recounts as a beautiful and enriching experience where she learned that so many of her readers are also writers. Thus, Healing Through Words was born.

She allowed her inner voice to shine through and her thoughts to come to her organically, noting that poetry is something that “happens to me and happens through me.” Rupi learned to step back into the teachings of her culture and mysticism, where she learns to tune in with her gut, instincts, and nature. This allows her to drive her art whereas the teachings of the west can become draining and extractive for artists. She has worked towards a process that feels more natural and mentions that making connections and conversation are her biggest inspiration. 

Healing Through Words is divided into four chapters: hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. Throughout these chapters, readers are presented with poetry and more than sixty guided writing activities based on the themes of her first book Milk and Honey.

Rupi Kaur’s first three books are arranged in a trilogy and seem to follow what feels like an intertwined story. When asked how this fourth book connects or disconnects from them, and how that relationship happened, Rupi said that what she loves most is that she wasn’t expecting this fourth book to be written that way just as she didn’t expect to write Milk and Honey. The way it fits in to her is that “People connect to poetry because it makes them feel seen and helps them process the great and not so great experiences of their life, and what breaks my heart is that there is so much pain in the world. This is my gift in terms of wanting help.” She expressed that by the end of it there may be more books, songs, essays, and stories written and cannot wait to see what will come out of that. She describes Healing Through Words as a bookend, guarding over her first three books. “I’ve created these three things and I’ve given them, but as I head into the next decade of my life and don’t know what I’m going to create next, I’m giving this to you and asking you to write what’s next because you have the power to.”

For any college students looking to explore poetry or potentially get published in the future, Rupi reassures you it is easier now than ever before to get published as a poet. She remembers trying to get published in 2014 and the experience being almost laughable. Now, so many incredible young writers have proven that they can be poets and it’s evident as more poetry is published. She says every path is different, but as a writer, you have to create opportunities for yourself. If the industries and gatekeepers are not letting you through, that does not mean that your work is not needed or valid, they just can’t see it. You cannot stop doing it just because they cannot see it, as they are not who you are writing for. At that point, she suggests charting your path, keep trying, and keep building or rebuilding. 

Rupi Kaur is currently on a world tour and hopes that this book can be added to people’s self-care practice, and is excited to see how people will use it whether professionally or for personal enjoyment. 

Healing Through Words is set to release on September 27, 2022 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Camille Garcia is a senior at Florida International University majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications. She is currently president at BOLD FIU, a student-run strategic communications agency, and hopes to establish a career in advertising post-graduation. She loves fashion, literature, film photography, vinyl record collecting, and trying new things.