UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Standing powerfully in her own words : the poetic solo performances of Indo-Canadian Rupi Kaur Singh, Simi


In this thesis, I examine the online performance work of Rupi Kaur from feminist, postcolonial and performance studies lenses. Where other studies have focused on the literary qualities of Kaur’s poetry, especially in terms of its aesthetics and the debates these spark amongst critics, I focus here on the transformative power of her poetry performances. Rupi Kaur is a bold, unapologetic agent for progressive social change. In this thesis I explore how the powerful imagery and themes of her written work combine with her online public performances. In particular, I analyze her choices about costume, facial expressions and bodily gestures, vocal intonations, Kaur’s use of rhythm and pacing along with other performative elements. As analyzing her entire oeuvre is beyond the scope of this project, I focus on two of her most publicly performed and well-known poems: “timeless” (2017) and “home (2017). I base my arguments about her performance choices on contemporary reviews from those who witnessed these performances live and on close analyses of her public performances of these aforementioned works during her 2016 TEDxTalk and interviews at CBC Q in Canada and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in the U.S.

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