Poetry Collection: milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Title: milk and honey
Author: Rupi Kaur
Published: 2014
Genre: Poetry

Synopsis: 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. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

Rating: red-starred-starred-starred-starred-star

“you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow”

Poetry or better said, what constitutes as poetry is a very subjective thing, if it speaks to you, you will internalize it but if it doesn’t, it will be off putting. For example, to me poetry has magic in its simplicity, my favorite poet of all time is Stevie Smith because it is so relatable while others enjoy the richness in Auden or Shakespeare. I think that’s the most important piece to keep in mind while reading this, there is no alternative meaning to Kaur’s words, they simply are and they will either appeal to you or they won’t. What I’m trying to say is that this is not Shelley but Kaur doesn’t try to be that she’s just writing to please herself and I always find that admirable. 

Milk and Honey is an incredible collection of poetry that doesn’t seek to soothe the discomfort of the reader, it seeks to shout the feelings of the poet and that is exactly what I’m looking for in such a personal prose, tell me what you think, make it sound like music. The book is divided into 4 sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. It takes the author’s journey from a really traumatic abusive childhood to finding the love of a good man, to the deterioration of that love and then finally the new dawn of self-discovery. At the end of the book Kaur dabbles in mild feminism which I always enjoy and appreciate that it’s included in a book that is being so widely read by so many young girls. Sometimes all a woman needs is a small seed, a sentence to start her thinking about feminism. 

I absolutely loved this, originally renting it as an ebook from the library I quickly realized I needed a physical copy because I needed to highlight the shit out of this. And yes, I know it’s going to be stored in the same shelf with all my other poets from old and young but I love variety in poetry and the truth is that unless you’re saying some seriously bad shit in your prose I’m probably going to enjoy it. I know a lot of people don’t particularly enjoy poetry and I wholeheartedly blame it on those high school English classes that made us dissect Robert Frost until all we remember is that poem about a road but I encourage you to pick this up as a starting base to poetry because this really is training wheels and it is approachable which is my #1 praise of this collection. 

I highly suggest you check it out, there’s certain passages like:

“he guts her
with his fingers
like he’s scraping
the inside of a
cantaloupe clean”

Then there’s lovely ones that would be loved by bridal prospects:

“you might not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves
irrelevant”

So in all, I think there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy, to internalize and to perhaps memorize. There’s a good reason this collection has gotten such hype, it’s utterly beautiful in its simplicity, it’s ack of pretentiousness and again – its approachability. If you read this and want to venture into something a bit more complex, please check out Pablo Neruda or E.E. Cummings. 

“don’t tell me my women
aren’t as beautiful 
as the ones in
your country

our backs
tell stories
no books have
the spine to
carry”

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