Rupi Kaur’s Poetry Performance in Glasgow – A Review

Do not listen to the adage “Never meet your heroes” because then you’ll not get the chance to sHARE A STAGE WITH THEM LIKE I DID!!!

St Luke's empty stage Rupi Kaur Glasgow review

I’m not joking. Rupi Kaur completed her whistlestop UK tour in Glasgow, shrouded in purple and pink lights and smiled down on by the stunning stained glass of St Luke’s on Bain Street. While the east end of Glasgow initially seemed an unusual choice to me, Waterstones certainly introduced Rupi to a warm west coast crowd.

Rupi Kaur Glasgow review

The room was abuzz with excitement. I was so glad to have bagged seats in the second row. It was the perfect view to soak up the palpable emotion that dripped from Rupi’s lips; rich like the honey she repeatedly makes mention of in both her published works.

Key readings were set to music that, at first, seemed odd choices but soon they married perfectly; matched – and mismatched – to stir up feelings I couldn’t put a name to. That’s one of the most magical mysteries of Rupi Kaur – her uncanny ability to unite a room with an emotion, even if it’s foreign to the crowd until she brews it with her piercing words.

Lyrical, smooth and utterly bewitching – Rupi Kaur was showered in clicks (a common sign of appreciation in the slam poetry world), claps and stomping as she roused a solidarity among the audience.

More wonderfully, though, was her interjections with utterly human stories of her friends, childhood, family and female experiences. She jokingly made mention of no longer being able to live now that her book is written – that she must practice what she preaches and accept the compliments that were made for her. She is adorably bashful and thankful for every click, clap and whoop that echoes through the church hall. Some moments, you could hear a pin drop as we hung on her every word. Other times, we were excitedly yelling in agreement with her empowering messages and proclamations of love before the words left her lips.

Being able to share a stage with Rupi Kaur will go down as one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. I cannot begin to explain the nerves, disbelief, fangirling and admiration swirling through my veins. Words still escape me as to how surreal the experience was. I read her words alongside her – her arm around me, soothing and encouraging – as I prayed I didn’t butcher her art in front of her adoring fans (I only stumbled once or twice, thank god).

I’m still shaking with excitement. I hope someone took a photo or recorded it so I can share it with the world forever and ever. For now, you’ll have to make do imagining me shakily reading the odd numbers and her perfectly delivering the evens.


If she ever comes back to the UK (which she did say she hopes to), I would buy my ticket in a heartbeat. It’s not often you find words that, even on a page, reach down into your soul, set you alight and leave a lasting warmth emanating through your entire being. Hers did, and being able to imprint her own glorious energy to memory and revel in her delivery of such similar experiences to mine is something I could happily experience again and again.

My Top 5 Fave Poets

I’m back! I know it’s been ages. I’m terrible. And busy. Like, soooo busy. But, I managed to find time to knock this bad boy together.

So, today I want to talk about poetry.

Do you ever read a passage in a book and instantly imagine it brought to life in a hazy, Baz Luhrmannesque kind of beauty that you know would reduce you to tears just looking at it? Or listened to a song and thought you belonged in the music video? (You’re lying to yourself if you say no – everyone imagined themselves in Taylor Swift’s music video for Love Story).

Well, that’s how I’ve begun to feel with poetry.

taylor swift love story
(image source)

Last Fringe, I went to the Loud Poets’ show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a friend. A friend of ours used to perform with them regularly and it sounded like a sophisicated way to spend an evening at the festival. At the time, I wasn’t much for poetry. I mean, sure, in theory it was great and beautiful and, well, poetic. But in practice I rarely read or watched anything that wasn’t Shakespearean or woven into a film or tv show.

The Loud Poets’ Fringe show changed that for me. I was awestruck by the beauty and fun and sadness their words were eliciting from me. It’s hard to verbalise the experience – you really had to have been there. My love for poetry has since been reingited and I thought I’d share some highlights from my recent readings and watchings.

Slam poetry is new to me, but I have fallen in love with the rhythmic, raw passion it is so often performed with and the realness of the words. It’s one thing to read a poem, but to feel those words seeping into your skin and crawling up your neck with the goosebumps they produce? That’s something special.

Speaking of special, my first slam poet recommendation has to be Neil Hilborn. He has lived with mental illness since childhood and discusses his experiences openly and with an uncomfortable honesty that you can’t help but enjoy.

I went to his Fringe show this year at the New Town Theatre on George Street. We sat in the front row (which after he reduced me to tears for the third time I was starting to regret). He’s an incredibly funny, self-depricating, hugely talented man. He tells stories as easily as breathing and was born to share his words with the world.

This is the poem that convinced me to follow his work and the one that emotionally broke me at the end of his set. I hope you enjoy “Joey” as much as I did.

Savannah Brown is my next recommendation. This poem was my first introduction to her, and I went on to buy her book and artwork created from this poem.

This poem has been shared across social media a number of times. In my opinion, people need to watch it now more than ever. This poem is something of a battlecry for women everywhere who have been marginalised, categorised, appraised, disregarded, sexualised, trivialised and minimalised.

She’s soft and bold and her words reflect many of my experiences growing up. Give her a watch, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Next up has to be Sabrina Benaim. Yes, there does seem to be a theme here in mental health chat (and the fact that Button Poetry is the source – a channel I’d urge you to follow for more great content), but I swear you need to watch this one.

It’s real and it’s painful and she gives you a real insight into the fear and frustration that comes with depression. Her other work is fantastic, but personally this one pushed a button and it has stayed with me ever since I first saw it.

 

I first came across Iona Lee through BBC The Social’s Facebook page, watching her perform this particular poem.

It might be her Scottish accent that endears me to her words so much, but she is a wonderful storyteller and the rhythmic cadences are almost hypnotising.

 

Some written poetry now, but just as worthy of your time as the videos above. You’ll likely have heard of Rupi Kaur by now. Having hit Number 1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List and become an Instagram superstar, her words are world-famous.

I bought her first book, Milk and Honey, a few months back and putting into words how her words made me feel is incredibly difficult. She writes about growing up, falling in and out of love, loss, feminism and her experiences of abuse.

While I can’t relate to everything she has lived through and written about, many of her poems really moved me to tears. Her words are magical and I truly appreciate her craft. I’m currently waiting for my copy of her second book, The Sun and her Flowers, to arrive so I’ll be sure to update you when I’ve had a chance to read it!

🌱😌🌱

Une publication partagée par rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) le

So, there you have it. There are many more poets I’ve found and fallen in love with, but this post was getting to be a hefty length so I’ll save them for a Part 2 in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Are you a fan of poetry in some form or another? Do you have any recommendations for me? Share them in the comments below!

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Smells Like Teen Angst

Communicating my thoughts and feelings through writing has not always been my strongest skill, but it has been a cathartic release for me from a young age.

While packing up my bedroom at my parents’ house over the Christmas break, I came across an old notebook I’ve owned for years.

It’s a pretty little hand-stitched number from Paperchase that I bought many, many moons ago.

As teenagedom hit with the subtlety of a sledgehammer and the emotions began running amock, I took solace in the pages of this notebook.

I always fancied myself as a poet or novelist, and unfortunately I was less than talented in the poetry department.

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d share some of the greater works (and by greater I mean those that induced the most stomach-churning cringe) of my adolescence.

Fact and Fiction

Sometime I feel like a character from a book
with no choice of path.

It seems to me that
we are all characters from God’s latest novel.

It seems to me
that we are all characters from God’s new best-seller

Apparently I was struggling with religion…

Act I Scene III

You’re the Lady Macbeth
of today.
Your tongue is your dagger
You seek revenge, need to
satiate your thirst.
Your anatomic sword pierces
hearts; spilling tears and
killing dreams.
Bloodlust courses through your veins
and yet you lie
ever silent, ever dreaming,
until the day the dagger
plunges.

It would also appear I was both ridiculously pissed off with someone and had a flare for (what I considered at the time to be) dramatic structure. Thank God there are no rhyming couplets or I’d be at this page with a rubber and a lot of elbow grease…

And, God Almighty, I seemed to think I could write humour into my ‘poetry’:

Optimism

My glass is half full
of an exciting new drink
that colours my day.

Optimism is
the new pessimism but
more optimistic

Give me strength.

One of the final entries in this notebook is also a short one, but it has a lot more meaning to me. And yes, this one rhymes:

Roses are red
violets are blue
I cannot fathom
this world without you.

Yellow’s for daisies
purple’s for heather
I’ll love you and miss you
forever and ever

I wrote that in 2012. It was the first Valentine’s Day after one of my dearest friends died in a car crash. It was such a devastating time for me. Probably fuelled a lot more angst, but fortunately I stopped writing so much poetry and focused my energy on journals and fiction. I can assure you they were better.

So, there you have it. I was an angsty wee thing, but God loves a trier.

There are still empty pages in this notebook, as time and other distractions left it sitting on the bookshelf for years. I am going to attempt to fill them all. No doubt there will be some angst still there – gotta get it out somehow – but I’m determined to finish this book on a happier note (and maybe without so much terrible, painful poetry).

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