MEET poet, performer, and artist Rupi Kuar. SBJCT spoke with Rupi about her current world tour, life as a self-published poet, how she’s come full circle after beginning her poetry journey through performance and the spoken word, and the power of conversations and connections and how it fuels our ability to inspire. Read on for more…

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Erin Walsh I would love to know more about your upcoming tour – tell me everything. What motivated you to pivot from written word to spoken word?

Rupi Kaur This is my first world tour as I am bringing my new show to cities I’ve never visited before. It is a brand new show with a new stage design, and beautiful music, and the wardrobe is extra special. I’m really looking forward to connecting with my audience again after so long. I am rested and ready and can’t wait to get out there 🙂

I actually started my poetry journey with performance and the spoken word. The written word or I like to call it “paper poetry”, naturally came after. I always began writing my spoken word pieces for the stage and after time developed an interest in paper poetry. Each form brings the poetry to life in a very different and beautiful way.

EW We had you draw stream-of-conscious on set – describe the emotions that were flowing through you as you were drawing? What is your regular process like?

RK That was the first time I’ve ever drawn that at a large scale and with a large audience (your crew). I felt like a kid again…in my bedroom drawing and feeling safe. It made me remember why I love to do what I do.

My process is I read the poem and I draw immediately the first thing that comes to my mind. I begin to sketch in my sketchbook and if I love it, I will then digitize it on an ipad. Most of the time it works out. But sometimes the first idea doesn’t land and I have to give it a few more tries but that is all a part of the process! The illustrations are really fun to do. They’re just a little glitter on top of all the words and I like it.

EW What should we be expecting from you in the coming years in terms of your growth as an artist? Can you give us any sneak peeks?

RK Writing books that aren’t collections of poetry. I already have a few in the works.

I always say my craft is expression and poetry is the medium I’m using right now. In the past, I have used photography as my vessel. Other times its sewing, drawing, or painting. Poetry prompted a reaction from people so I chose to pursue it. It is what I’m known for the most right now and I love that. Over the past 2 years, I have begun dabbling in other industries and mediums and I can’t wait to share what we’ve been building.

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EW What helps you stay sane and tethered these days?

RK Moving my body. Spending time with family and friends. Laughing.


EW How do you like to spend your days when you aren’t working?

RK I like to wake up feeling rested, make coffee, and peanut butter toast and eat it in silence. I enjoy the peace and quiet. I also really enjoy those days when I make no plans and the day presents itself.


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EW Tell us how you use your platform to pay it forward.

RK Currently, I am using my platform to share the stage with other poets. I got my start on a grassroots level and performed at small poetry evenings. These events were organized by local activists and I began to work with them to organize more events. We would host events for local youth and that’s the scene I grew up in.

When we began to plan this tour, I reminiced about those years and how I got my start. I felt quite isolated from the experience I have now. It’s a big show on a large scale. I questioned how I could bring the community into this as it was the community that inspired me to do what I doing – performing.

So I am paying it forward and posted on my social media an open call for anyone to submit a video of themselves performing their own original poetry with the hope to be selected as my opening act. I selected each opening act for each stop on my North American tour. We had an incredible response which just shows the need and audience for performance poetry. I can’t wait to see my opening acts take the stage and see what they do next.

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EW What makes you excited about the coming year?

RK I spent the last 2.5 years being still. I honed in on my creativity and got my energy back from the pandemic. Now, I’m ready and I am fuelled. I am excited to be on the road with some good friends and make memories along the way.


EW Book we should be reading?

RK I’m currently reading “The lying life of adults” by Eleanor Ferrante and my favorite book of all time is “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran.



EW What are you most proud of thus far?

RK My opening acts. They’re each so powerful and I am so proud to share the stage with them.


EW Rupi, What’s Your SBJCT? What really moves and motivates you?

RK Conversations and connections. When I feel connected and sit down and have a conversation. I am always so inspired by those conversations where I am so  present in the room I am sitting in, I am focused and moved by that one person. The world feels small and I am captivated by the connection. I love those moments. They inspire a lot of my work. I believe everyone has an important story to tell. If we sit and listen and we’re patient with each other we will discover a lot of magic around us.

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