Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) announced a Nov. 17 release date for “Home Body,” the third collection of poems and illustrations by renowned author, artist and performer Rupi Kaur. Kaur’s previous collections “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers” are No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, and have sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 40 languages.
Highly anticipated by fans across the globe, “Home Body” guides readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present and the potential of the self. The lyrical journey through words and illustrations presents a collection of raw, honest conversations as Kaur casts a warm light on family and home, mental health and depression, femininity and masculinity, love and acceptance.
“I’m excited to share this new collection with the world,” said Kaur. “It was written as a love letter to the self — a reminder that we must always take the time to fill up on love, acceptance and community. We can’t make it anywhere alone. We need each other. Together, a better world is possible.”
Designed by Kaur in her distinct simple style, themes of personal exploration are discovered in the collection’s pages. In addition to the acceptance of self, “Home Body” continues her ruminations on love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity and migration.
“We are honored to bring Rupi’s third poetry collection to a passionate readership longing for her powerful and healing words,” said Kirsty Melville, president and publisher of AMP. “Her work continues to inspire with poems and illustrations that resonate with authenticity, openness, hope and love. The arrival of ‘Home Body’ could not come at a better time.”
The pandemic has put strains on many industries, and publishing is no different. However, because Kaur’s books are widely ordered through Amazon, there has been no shortage of pre-orders for “Home Body.”
Releasing a book during the pandemic may not seem optimal, but Kaur is using it to her advantage, showing that art can help people cope during a disruption. With an Instagram following of 4 million, she has used her social media to document the writing process.
Through Instagram Reels and IGTV writing workshops, she has kept her influence active, which has made readers excited for the new book.
In her post on July 29, she captions a video of her drawing with “Book 3 illustrations are now in progress! I only have a few more to draw before this baby is done.” In the same caption, she talks about how her passion for drawing evolved as she grew up and how in high school, she began to experiment with adding words to line drawings.
“It wasn’t until 2013 that I realized how much I missed drawing. I wondered if there was a way I could bring the art and poetry together,” she wrote in another post. “The illustrations have been a permanent fixture to my poetry ever since.”
Posting about not only her success, but her struggles through growth have allowed Kaur’s themes in “Home Body” to connect to her readers virtually throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
The pandemic has hit people hard, and those who were struggling before are now having an even harsher battle being isolated. The conversations about depression, mental health, self-love and acceptance in Kaur’s work provide a sense of community that is desperately desired across the country.
As a female Indian author, Kaur’s words are even more crucial for her diverse audience. Because of long-standing systemic health and social inequalities, racial and ethnic minority groups are at an increased risk of COVID-19.
Likewise, according to the Economic Policy Institute, Black and Hispanic workers make up the majority of frontline workers and therefore are more at risk: “Black Americans make up 12.5% of the U.S. population but account for 22.4% of COVID-19 deaths.”
The challenges that Kaur’s readers of color are facing present an astounding reason to revel in her words of hope. Her words have formulated a family for those who need it most.
“Home Body” reveals the darkness of the pandemic, but also the light that can come out of it. “Been feeling a deep melancholy these past few weeks that’s been hard to shake off,” Kaur wrote in an Instagram post on Aug. 31, when BLM posts were surfacing Instagram.
“It’s hard for me to put it into words, yet you do it so flawlessly as if you were supposed to put all of our feelings into words for us,” commented one of Kaur’s followers.
In addition to the pandemic, the BLM protests have sparked a fight for justice that, in the midst of difficult conversations about race in America, is inspiring perseverance. Kaur’s poetry reflects this, and awakens a sense of growth.
The ideals of her poetry are accentuated by her interactions with her followers and the discussions that her female-positive lifestyle unveils. Kaur herself promotes healthy resources and opportunities for her community. In one post, she is shown wearing body-positive T-shirts using a line from a poem in “Milk and Honey.” The post is in partnership with an ethically sourced and sustainable company called Kotn. Another post features one word repeated across the page: vote.
“Home Body,” soon to be released on Nov. 17, will surely attract new readers and gather inspiration for an improved self. “Over the past 7 months I’ve had to become friends with patience in order to finish writing book 3,” said Kaur. “Every day was a mystery and turned out to be the opposite of what I expected. And that’s the journey. That’s living.”