Rupi Kaur is a Canadian author known for her graceful yet minimalistic poetry style. Her most recent book, Healing Through Words, illustrates her struggles with mental health through meaningful, short poems and includes a writer’s handbook with exercises for readers.
Throughout her poetry, Kaur touches on themes of sexual violence, love, anxiety, fear, and coping with grief. She provides commentary on these emotions and offers advice on conquering them. Kaur believes that while her works are simple, her style infers deeper meanings. Her poems allow readers to contemplate strong emotions related to mental health.
Healing Through Words investigates some of Kaur’s previous works. She dissects a poem about love from her book Milk and Honey in three parts: a declaration, her needs, and a goal. Throughout the collection, Kaur touches on a multitude of emotions—from heartbreak to healing. Her words help us understand the essence of romantic relationships and how sometimes, they don’t last. Kaur builds on breakups and motivates readers with the message that heartache doesn’t have to impede on our happiness. Her poetry serves as commentary on society’s unrealistic views about love and reminds readers that another person cannot make us complete—only we can do so for ourselves.
Through the book’s exercises, readers are prompted to write how and what they feel. In doing so, Kaur encourages us to heal and cope with our own traumas while also sharing hers. She speaks of her anger towards a partner she deemed as selfish and reminds women about their right to bodily autonomy. Her collection encourages us to share our trauma in ways that empower us. Many exercises are open-ended, allowing for a diary-like experience.
Kaur advises readers to think about irrational fears as subjects that we can speak to directly. As she subtly speaks of her gut-wrenching experiences with sexual assault, she states that ignoring our fears gives them power. Fears consume us in ways that prevent healing. Through Kaur’s words, she hopes to break the stigmas of fears as “weakening.” Her straightforward words, targeted to female readers, deliver a simple yet empowering message of staying true to our inner feelings and needs. She encourages us to love ourselves for who we are—fears and all.
As both an aspiring writer and someone with anxiety, Healing Through Words spoke to me. I received practical advice for my writing and was able to process many emotions—a process that was, indeed, healing. Kaur’s collection offers incredible messages that stay with readers long after the final page. Anyone who has ever felt burdened by heavy emotions can benefit from this book.