Rupi Kaur and Shelagh Rogers share some of their favourite books of poetry

The bestselling poet joins The Next Chapter host to talk poetry.

Bestselling Canadian writer and Instagram star Rupi Kaur has released a new collection of poetry, home body. The collection explores the concept of self and reflects on home, mental health, love and acceptance. 

Kaur currently has more than 4 million Instagram followers. At the beginning of 2020, she was named the writer of the decade by U.S. publication The New Republic. Her other poetry collections are milk and honey and the sun and her flowersboth which made the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2017, Kaur and The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers share some of their favourite poetry collections. 

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran published The Prophet, considered his masterpiece, in 1923. (Alfred A. Knopf)

Rupi says: "The Prophet is my life bible. Whenever I am down, I can go and find so many gems in the book. It's the one book I travel with all the time. I always have it in my backpack and it's kind of a safety blanket for me."

Odes by Sharon Olds

Odes is American poet Sharon Olds' follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection Stag's Leap. (Brett Hall Jones/Knopf)

Rupi says: "I have all of Sharon Olds' books. Odes is easily accessible for anybody that wants to dive into her work. It's quirky. It's fun. There's Ode to the Tampon, Ode to Hip Replacement, Ode to the Condom, Ode to Withered Cleavage. It's great way, for at least me as a woman, to explore my body again and explore things I don't specifically take notice of."

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, who died in 2014, was beloved by readers and literary critics for her breathtaking poetry collections and autobiographies. (Dwight Carter/Random House)

Rupi says: "Maya Angelou was probably one of my favourite poets growing up. Her work is so beautiful and easily accessible. The poetry I was studying in school was very difficult for me to understand. But Maya Angelou... could just sweep you in with the rhythm of her voice and that's really where the magic was at.

"I heard recordings of her reading Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise and to hear someone so empowered by the way their body is in the world, it moved me a lot to write about how I felt in my own body as a woman in the world."

And I Alone Escaped To Tell You by Sylvia Hamilton

Sylvia Hamilton is an award-winning filmmaker and poet. (Gaspereau Press)

Shelagh says: "Sylvia Hamilton is a writer, she's a filmmaker, she's a descendent of African peoples in Nova Scotia. In the first part of this book, And I Alone Escaped To Tell You, she gets into the lives of people who are enslaved. She does not call them slaves. She calls them people who are enslaved. And she is very, very careful about this language. She talks about people who are freedom runners, not escaped slaves.

"The first part of this book of poems is about that particular time period in the 1700s in Nova Scotia. But then she moves it into contemporary times and the legacy of racism, of colonialism. She's brilliant."

Runaway Dreams by Richard Wagamese

Renown Ojibway storyteller Richard Wagamese published one book of poetry in his life: Runaway Dreams. (Ronsdale Press)

Shelagh says: "This collection of poetry is so ravishing. Richard, the late Ojibwe author — his parents were both residential school survivors. He was scooped up in the Sixties Scoop and was adopted a number of times, but he really believed in reconciliation. He believed in everybody coming together."

What the Soul Doesn't Want by Lorna Crozier

Lorna Crozier is an officer of the Order of Canada. (Kevin Konnyu/

Shelagh says: "Lorna Crozier is a great Canadian poet. What the Soul Doesn't Want is an amazing, very slim collection. There are poems about aging and poems about grief and poems about loss, but she also has an amazing sense of humour. She has a whole suite of poems about cockroaches, for example, and their amazing survivability."

Shelagh Rogers and Rupi Kaur's comments have been edited and condensed.

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