G. Bianco, 2019
With so many rave reviews over the years, Rupi Kaur’s milk and honey has always piqued my interest. I’ll be honest: I’m not the most prolific in poetry, besides the classic Renaissance and transcendentalist poetry you're forced to read in school. However, in an attempt to become more well-versed in modern poetry, I thought I’d try reading Kaur’s poetry collection. After finally picking it up, I can understand why most people are so in love with Kaur’s work.
Kaur’s poetry collection follows a main theme of survival. By touching on topics, like abuse, love, sorrow, loss, and femininity, the collection meshes together into a homage to the bittersweet moments in life and turning them into a positive for oneself.
This poetry collection is definitely not your classic Emily Dickinson, but I won’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing. Kaur honestly and bluntly weaves together narratives through her poetry and prose to display a lifetime of struggle and learning. The metaphor of the sweetness of milk and honey is brought up almost immediately in the first few poems, while effectively being carried through the rest of the poems. By separating the collection into four sections/chapters, the story Kaur tells flows very nicely with each chapter picking up where the other left off. The reader really gets a glimpse at what Kaur has been through in her life through the simplest of poems. The imagery she expresses is phenomenal, especially through the use of single line poetry. The lengthier poems and prose also make the reader stop and think with their metaphors and punctuation usage.
I will admit that some portions were a little too blunt for my liking and certain topics made me a bit uncomfortable. Also, while some of the illustrations were simplistically pretty, some of them were a bit cruder than I would’ve preferred. It may be that I’m just unfamiliar with her style and was not expecting it, which is why it came as such a shock to me, but it still wasn't my favorite. That being said, the simplicity of certain images were really imaginative and stunning.
Overall, this was a good read and I plan on picking up her second collection, but I just don’t think I was as moved by certain pieces as some other people were. However, I will give Kaur an A+ for bravery in writing such raw pieces. The way she mixes her illustrations, personal stories, and writing style into the one poetry collection makes it the perfect book for those who are looking for a modern and thought-provoking read.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!