Rupi Kaur’s “milk and honey”

From the Goodreads blurb, milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache.

I wouldn’t compare it to the overused saying “emotional rollercoaster”. Though Kaur’s words did bring forth bouts of emotions, it was . . . underwhelming. And I don’t get it, is it just me? Because it’s some of my friend’s favourite poetry collection and have recommended it to me endlessly and a number of my favourite booktubers have raved about it as well.

I do understand the appeal of it. Kaur’s poetry is simple, straightforward, and struck a chord every now and again—and that’s exactly my jam. The illustrations—rough but seemingly effortless pencil sketches of human beings and nature—were a nice touch as well. But on the whole, it just didn’t affect me the way I expected it to. I wasn’t blown away by it. The poems talk about some powerful subjects—feminism, empowerment, vulnerability, rape, abuse, the different types of love, forgiveness, loss, healing—but they were worded in a way that would have sounded better had it been said in conversation instead of in print. Some of the poems looked like Kaur just pressed enter in the middle of every other sentence and made the lines read awkwardly, stilted even.

If anything, it was too Tumblr for my taste.

But on to the positives. As someone who has been interested in poetry for a while but has never gotten the time to fully immerse myself in it, I definitely think that Kaur’s anthology was a good place to start. It was a quick, enjoyable enough read. The poems, though not all of them affected me strongly, all felt extremely personal and I commend Kaur for being brave enough to put her emotions into words onto the page for all to read.

Bit of an addendum. I read this anthology on two separate occasions. The first time round, I wasn’t in a relationship. I was too early for work and so I sat at a nearby bus stop and read it. It was nice, but there was a bit of a disconnect (probably because I was also reading out in the cold). The second time I read this (because I figured I didn’t appreciate it enough the first time), I was in a relationship and things are going great. Some of the poems, I found, resonated with me more than the first time I read them. They even reminded me of my SO (the positive, hopeful ones, don’t worry) to an extent. So, yeah. It was nice.

If you’ve made it this far into my post, then thank you for reading! Have you read this anthology before? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you in my next post.

Until next time,
Dev.

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