From social networks to libraries: Ruby Core “instapoet” without taboo

Committed 2.0 artist, Canadian-Indian Robby Kaur has democratized poetry in recent years, speaking about sexual violence, depression or immigration. Thanks to the Instagram fame, she now sells her collections in millions of copies and fills rooms.

Book in Hand, the 29-year-old artist with long black hair, wearing a leopard-print skirt, paints her poem in clear voice before a large, mostly women audience at the National Center for the Arts in Ottawa.

“Why don’t we get into my favorite topic Deflation: My mental health?” She then blasts off to the cheers of the audience at the start of a multi-hour show punctuated by many personal anecdotes, from her memories of a child uprooted to the social dinners she now participates in.

Having made a name for herself in just a few years, the young artist has become the figurehead of a new type of hair. At the end of 2014, when she was 21 years old, Ruby Kaur published her first collection Milk and Honey, which combined poetry, prose and illustrations, which quickly became a bestseller.

“At that time, there was no hair market,” recalls Robbie Kaur, three sets to his account, who is currently on a world tour.

Dedicated as the “Queen of instapoets” by Rolling Stones magazine in 2017, the young writer – who has 4.5 million subscribers on Instagram – has sold more than 10 million copies of her first two books that have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Thousands crowded during his appearance on stage. It has also developed several derivative products (jacket, T-shirt, tattoo, etc.).


“Yesterday I was on stage in Chicago and we were talking about mental health and abuse…There were about 2,000 people in the audience. I think we’re not alone with our experiences of anxiety and depression, I find that fairly fascinating,” says Robbie Kaur.

The young woman who grew up in suburban Toronto saw a huge surge in popularity in March 2015. A student of literature and rhetoric, she was censored twice by Instagram after she posted a photo of her lying on her back running around bloodied with her period. The clichés and their harsh response are circling the planet.

Last April, she denounced censorship again, angry that some US states, notably Texas and Oregon, were considering banning their first batch of schools and libraries because they “explored the sexual abuse and violence of a young woman.”

“It breaks my heart that parents and legislators are trying to ban this book. We are expelling culture and expression, and those who suffer most are young readers,” the poet laments.

Born in Punjab, India’s most populous province, the daughter of a Sikh refugee immigrated to Canada with her parents at the age of four.

I grew up participating in demonstrations and talking about revolution and human rights over a meal. It has always been a common thread in my work ”, explains the artist.

This “quiet and shy” teen, the eldest of four children, finds sanctuary through poetry that allows her to be “noisy.”

Admiring the poems of Lebanese Khalil Gibran, Ruby Kaur wrote about her personal experience in first person, without capital letters, in reference to her native language, Punjabi.

The writer takes pride in her roots and laments that there are not “enough women of color in publishing and the media”. He finds his inspiration in the news.

His poems “are not very complex, and the figures of speech are not very complex, but perhaps that is exactly what the audience likes,” says Stephanie Polster, professor of creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal.

His short poems are not “scary” and his “accessible” style attracts new readers.

Like Kristen Blair, the 27-year-old nurse, for whom the Ruby Core world was a “gateway” to poetry. By addressing topics like rape and relationships, Ruby Kaur isn’t afraid to show her “vulnerability, and that’s what I love about her.”

Anne-Sophie Tell/AFP

Committed 2.0 artist, Canadian-Indian Robby Kaur has democratized poetry in recent years, speaking about sexual violence, depression or immigration. Thanks to Instagram fame, she now sells millions of copies of her collections and fills rooms.Book in Hand The 29-year-old artist with long black hair, wearing a skirt with…

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