Kids Corner


Rupi Kaur
Poet To The World -
The Chic Sikh Of The Year 2017





We at take great pleasure in naming Sardarni Rupi Kaur as The Chic Sikh Of The Year 2017.

Nominations received from our readers from around the world have helped a panel of judges to select her from a long list of worthy men, women, youths, groups and organizations based in a multitude of countries around the world.

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RUPI KAUR, Poet To The World
writer, artist, performer
author of international bestsellers
, “milk and honey“, “the sun and her flowers”

A Sikh-Canadian woman, 25, has turned the world of poetry and literature on its ear, while repeatedly hitting the number one spot on the world’s bestseller  lists, including the prestigious New York Times Bestsellers’ List.

Rupi Kaur has surpassed not only established and renowned writers but has created unprecedented and historical records in poetry sales. Her first book, published a little over two years ago, has on latest count already sold 2.5 million copies around the world.

Her poetry collections have been selling at greater numbers than the total sold by the next top ten poets combined. Her books - remember, it’s ‘only’ poetry! - continue to outsell blockbuster novels and thrillers, and other publications of every which genre. 

Her poems defy definition as many struggle to pigeon-hole her writing by creating new terms and assigning them to newly-minted categories.
Her poetry is simple and stark, raw in its soul-baring and heart-piercing humanity. Yet, it’s daring and courageous, hard-hitting, never afraid to offend stale, worn-out and hackneyed sensibilities. Its breath of fresh air has turned millions who have never read or understood poetry into passionate poetry readers and lovers.

Rupi’s work is shaped by her Sikhi and puts forth the rich values of her upbringing with a directness and beauty that have breathed new life into an otherwise tired and languid, imitative and uninspiring literature scene. 

Rupi Kaur, the poet, writer, artist and performer, has taken the world by storm.

The following are some excerpts from three separate reviews taken from the international arena.

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'Now It’s The Coolest Thing': Rise Of Rupi Kaur Helps Boost Poetry Sales
Excerpts from an essay on RUPI KAUR by Rob Walker, The Guardian, October 7, 2017:

Forget page-turners and celebrity memoirs, Brits have rekindled their love of verse.

More than a million poetry books were sold in Britain in the last year, the highest number on record, as the popularity of social media sensations such as Rupi Kaur continues to reinvigorate the art form. Sales are up 13%, to £10.5m, according to figures from Nielsen Book Research.

Rupi Kaur, whose latest book hit shelves this week, is at the heart of the boom. Her debut anthology, ‘milk and honey‘, broke all records when it was released in 2016, and this year it has sold more copies than the rest of the top 10 poets combined.

Rupi is even outselling heavyweight fiction writers such as Ian McEwan and Anne Tyler (and Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, et al!).

“I’m kind of a nerd,” says Rupi. “I’ve always loved English class and I love reading books, but, the truth is I never even understood the poetry we were given at school.”

Rupi Kaur, 25, moved from Punjab to Toronto when she was four, and grew up with English as a second language. “I was always a visual artist first,” she says.

When it came to writing poetry, she looked at ways to form simple, easy-to-understand verses, often so short you can read them in one breath. She’s known for tackling hard subjects such as alcoholism head-on, but a lot of her work deals with love and relationships.

“I don’t want someone to read my poetry and think: what does that mean? So every time I’m writing, I’m thinking: OK, what word can I take out? How do I make this more direct? What’s too technical?”

The quick-fire click-and-swipe culture of social media – Instagram especially – has been key to Rupi’s meteoric rise.

“I’ve heard someone describe it as fidget spinner poetry,” says Chris McCabe, who runs the poetry library at London’s Southbank Centre. “But it’s bringing lots of people to poetry who might otherwise never have engaged with it. And that’s a fantastic thing.”

Footfall at the library has increased by more than 20% over the past year, he says, thanks in part to Rupi Kaur. The library even has a specific genre titled Instagram poetry, because so many people had been asking for it.

“Thanks to social media we don’t rely on a critical interpretation of poetry to tell us what’s good any more,” McCabe says. “It’s the end of centuries of white-male dominated verse – and that’s a real breakthrough.”

“OMGGG YASSS!!!” “I love you, rupi!”

Excerpts from an essay on RUPI KAUR by Agatha French, The Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2017

Milk and Honey,” the debut collection by 25-year-old Canadian poet Rupi Kaur, is the top-selling book in the United States this year so far, but its competition may have finally arrived — in the form of Rupi’s second book of poetry, “The Sun and Her Flowers” (Andrews McMeel, $16.99.)

Rupi Kaur is a leader in the new movement of writers known as Instapoets, due not, as some might imagine, to instantaneous careers or fame, but because they have grown substantial readerships by sharing their poetry on Instagram.

As of this writing, Rupi has 1.7 million Instagram followers, including pop star Ariana Grande (two days ago it was 1.6 million). When Rupi revealed the cover art for “The Sun and Her Flowers” on her account in July, the post received 180,138 likes and 8,044 comments, some of which (“OMGGG YASSS!!!” “I love you, rupi!”) recall the fervent devotion of Beatles fans ...

… While her Instagram account may boast 1.7 million followers, in the ultimate social-media power move, Rupi Kaur follows no one.



Rupi Kaur Is Kicking Down The Doors Of Publishing

Excerpts from essay on RUPI KAUR by TARIRO MZEZEVA, The New York Times, October 5, 2017

Milk and Honey” has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 25 languages. Over the last two years, it has spent 77 weeks on The New York Times Trade Paperback Best-Seller List ...

… Two chapters of her new (second) book were written after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. In them she tells the story of her family. Poems about her ancestors and her mother’s bravery in leaving Punjab read as thank-you notes.

“I wonder what it was like for my mom,” Ms. Kaur said. “How the hell did she pick up, move and do that all by herself?”

The gratitude she feels to her parents for working hard and giving her the opportunity to get an education will resonate with children of immigrants. It’s hard to ignore the power of such work in a moment when the White House pushes for mass deportations of people like Ms. Kaur’s family. Her father, Suchet Singh, arrived in Canada as a refugee in the early 1990s.

On Monday, when asked about Ms. Kaur’s work, her mother just smiled. Her father said that he also had no words to describe how proud he and his wife are of their daughter, but he did say: “She’s following her soul’s purpose.”

[Edited for]

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The selection of each year’s Chic Sikh is announced every New Year’s Day by and is the result of a two-month long poll from its readers worldwide and a final whetting by the panel of judges.

The criteria for the honour of being selected ‘The Chic Sikh of The Year’ stipulate that a candidate’s actions should constitute public service above and beyond the call of duty; selfless, consistent, ongoing and meticulous service, honed by excellence; have a ground-breaking and far-reaching impact, commensurate with the highest Sikh ideals of working towards the welfare of all people; of benefit to people of all faiths and races; have made a mark on society in the year 2017; of a nation-building nature; and deserving wide recognition, encouragement and support.

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This is the tenth year in a row that we have asked our world-wide readers to propose the names of those men, women, children, groups, institutions or corporations - Sikh or non-Sikh - who they feel deserving to be named THE CHIC SIKH(S) OF THE YEAR.

As always, the response from across the diaspora over the course of the last two months has been thoughtful, spirited and enthusiastic. Our judges have struggled during the last few days with the rich and varied list (see below) of possible awardees.

The selection process this year, as always, has not been easy. The judges have now selected a woman who has reminded us to continually strive for excellence, and of our duty, as citizens no matter where we live and what we do, to devote our lives in serving those who are in need … thus exemplifying the highest of Sikh ideals and values.

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The list of past winners includes Wisconsin Gurdwara hero Lt. Brian Murphy, British Marathoner Fauja Singh, Human Rights Activist Gurbaksh Singh, Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, Harvinder Singh Phoolka (Human Rights Advocate), Jarnail Singh ('The Lion of Delhi'), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ravinder ‘Ravi’ Singh (Khalsa Aid), SALDEF, Saran Singh (Editor, The Sikh Review), Waris Singh Ahluwalia, The Sikh Coalition, the Survivors of 1984, and United Sikhs.

The following 20 individuals, institutions or groups were nominated by our readers this year for the honour:

Canada, Nation of
Canada, People of
Gurmehar Kaur (Activist, India)
Jasleen Kaur (Astronaut, USA)
Lilly Singh (Comedian, Canada)
Manka Kaur Dhingra (Senator, Washington State, USA)
Preet Kaur Didbal (Mayor, Yuba City, California, USA)
Rupi Kaur (Poet, Canada)
Duleep Singh (late - Maharajah-Emperor, Kingdom of Punjab)
Gurbir Singh Grewal (Attorney General, New Jersey, USA)
Jagmeet Singh (Leader, NDP, Canada)
Jagraj Singh (late - Basics of Sikhi)
Jaspreet Singh (Poet/Novelist, Canada)
Manjinder Singh Sirsa (Activist, Punjab)
Manmeet Singh Bhullar (late - MPP, Alberta, Canada)
Narinder Singh Kapany (Scientist-Philanthropist, USA)
Ravinder ‘Ravi’ Singh (Khalsa Aid)
Ravinder ’Ravi’ Singh Bhalla (Mayor, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA)
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (MP, United Kingdom)
Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Canada)

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We at join our readers from around the world in congratulating Rupi Kaur and wishing her all power and strength, success and grace, in her continuing endeavours.

We wish her and her loved ones every blessing and happiness in the New Year and in the years to come.

January 1, 2018  

Conversation about this article

1: N Singh (Canada), December 31, 2017, 6:47 PM.

Congratulations! Wow! She makes me so proud to be a Sikh. Finally we are breaking glass ceilings.

2: Veeran Kaur (Chandigarh, Punjab), January 02, 2018, 10:19 AM.

No person deserves this year's honour more than Rupi Kaur. She has become such a wonderful standard-bearer for all of us. Congratulations, Rupi ji!

3: Paramji Singh Grewal (Auckland, New Zealand), January 03, 2018, 11:29 PM.

Congratulations, Rupi ji - well done, and keep up the good work.

4: Kulvinder Jit Kaur (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada), January 05, 2018, 5:21 PM.

So proud of Rupi Kaur. A great choice. Congratulations!

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Poet To The World -
The Chic Sikh Of The Year 2017"

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