Rupi Kaur and Shelagh Rogers share some of their favourite books of poetry
Bestselling Canadian writer and Instagram star Rupi Kaur has released a new collection of poetry, The Sun and Her Flowers. Exploring themes of love, heartbreak and healing, Kaur has divided her book into five chapters, mirroring the life cycle of the flower: wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
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
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 Poetry of Maya Angelou
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
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
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
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.