In looking over the bestseller lists in the Saturday/Sunday Wall Street Journal this weekend, I was surprised to see two books on the “combined” nonfiction list by an author I’d never heard of. Additionally, although that combined list usually features books that have appeared on either the hardcover or e-book nonfiction list, neither of this author’s books appears there. But there they are on the combined list, The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk And Honey.
So who is Rupi Kaur, and where did she come from? I don’t know enough yet to give a complete answer to those questions, but here’s what I’ve learned so far. Kaur is an Instagram poet with 1.9 million followers, whose posts seem to be relatively short poems and photos with generalized insights about life. Very accessible and fairly universal, especially in their appeal to the experiences of young women everywhere and possibly, in particular, young women of color. Kaur follows no one from the account where she posts her poems and photos, so those 1.9 million followers are presumably people legitimately interested in her work and not the quid pro quo I’ll-follow-you-if-you-follow-me followers that seem to be attached to so many writers’ accounts.