Rupi Kaur brings poetry from the page to the stage

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Rupi Kaur is becoming a familiar name in poetry. Between her three books, her Instagram Live writing workshops during quarantine (highly recommended, by the way) and flowing movements when she does spoken word poetry, she’s built a fan base that is always left wanting more.

Recently, she released a recording of a live show she did in April, following the release of her most recent poetry collection, “Home Body,” and it is a journey. “Rupi Kaur Live” is an hour of Kaur reading poetry excerpts from her first two books, “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and her Flowers,” as well as spoken word pieces.

She starts with the topic of heartbreak and works her way into immigration, self-love, healing and femininity. Throughout the performance, Kaur jokes with the audience and tells anecdotes about her life and how they inspired pieces of poetry.

During her performance, the focus is entirely on Kaur, who is reciting her poetry from the center of a small stage that gradually changes color throughout the recording. During longer pieces, a music track plays and the colors change, creating a somewhat serene atmosphere.

In poems about her family and their immigration to America, photos of her parents and younger self appear in the background, giving the audience a face to attach to her words.

The audience is fairly lively throughout the performance and is involved in some humorous short banters, like a slight disagreement on long-distance relationships. 

For viewers unused to watching spoken word poetry, the recording might feel a bit strange. Hearing someone speak in the cadence that spoken word poetry is performed and move a bit like seaweed may not be on everyone’s list to watch. 

However, the general humor and relatability of Kaur’s performance may change their minds. Notably when Kaur tells the story of her father, who somehow ends up in the front row of her performances every time, there’s a poem about sex on the docket, but avoids mentioning it after the show.

The style of spoken word poetry and the way Kaur moves may seem awkward at first, but by the end, she makes it seem like that’s the only way to read her poetry. Kaur’s wardrobe also adds to the performance. She speaks about feeling like “an extra celestial being,” and her dress played the part. It complements the lighting and shifting backgrounds and accentuates her movements while she performs. Paired with facial expressions and hand movements, Kaur’s performance and appearance definitely evoke emotion from her audience, and they make sure to let her know. 

Some poems might leave you feeling empowered or wishing you had as amazing of a love life as she writes in her poems, which are apparently more “aspirational” than anything. Some might leave you regretting that you’re watching someone describe their sex life in detail with your parents on the couch next to you. Regardless, “Rupi Kaur Live” is an experience worth having. “Rupi Kaur Live” is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Rating: 4/5

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