Book Review: milk and honey by rupi kaur

So I don’t read poetry very often, but the good folks at Simon and Schuster offered to send me this book in return for an honest review, and I had heard of Rupi Kaur before (on buzzfeed nonetheless) so I agreed to give it a go. I love being able to tell people I read poetry, even if it’s just a short, smug response; ” Why yes, I read a bit of poetry” (with an expression that would say, ‘doesn’t everyone’?).  I am THAT deep of a person, thank you very much. And although I hate landscape and nature poetry with a passion, I do enjoy a bit of humor poetry, or poems with a strong narrative behind them, so milk and honey was a good fit for me.

smugWarning: milk and honey is most definitely not a humorous collection (I thought you might think that, based on the sentence above). It’s split into four sections, and is not for the faint of heart. It basically deals with sexual abuse, a passionate adult relationship following that, the break-up, and then the healing from that breakup. Oh, and there are (sometimes graphic) line illustrations accompanying some of the poems, which really help the reader to understand what the poet is trying to say. So I liked this book because I wasn’t left wondering ‘what the hell did that mean?’ after each poem; her intentions were obvious, which I appreciated.

As a poet should, Kaur had a beautiful way of describing things, and striking phrases that will stick with me for awhile. For instance, on p. 197:

if you are not enough for yourself

you will never be enough

for someone else

Pearl LOVES poetry, as this photo suggests

Pearl LOVES poetry, as this photo suggests

I would even go so far as to say that Kaur is a bit of a feminist. Alot of her work deals with acknowledging the goddess within you, honouring your strength as a woman, etc. I can appreciate this perspective, it’s nice to read as a fellow woman, and I’m lucky to have so many strong women in my life that I think many of them would enjoy this collection as well. But don’t let the ‘f’ word scare you off, read it for yourself and find your own take-aways.

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Book Review: The Wrong Cat by Lorna Crozier

I don’t typically read poetry, but I always make an exception for the wonderful Canadian poet and icon Lorna Crozier. The Wrong Cat is her latest collection of poetry, and ‘spellbinding’ is one of the best words I can find to describe it. *

Obviously I’m going to like it because it features poems about cats, that’s a given. Although she doesn’t get into crazy cat lady territory, the cat poems simply introduce each section of the book, of which there are four in total. These short, cat-focused poems are mysterious, just like our feline friends. For example:

“Unlike the dog,

its opposite,

a cat defies

the anecdotal,

goes for the lyric…” (p. II)

And Crozier continues the animal theme throughout the book, including poems from different animals’ perspectives; usually their take on humans, which is wildly entertaining as you can probably imagine. She writes from the perspective of crows in quite a few pieces, as well as a lengthy ode to the nose of a moose. But these poems aren’t hokey, in fact they are quite the opposite. Crozier has a way of twisting the reader’s attention to something completely different, changing our perspectives as quickly as possible. For instance, at the end of the moose poem, she describes its mind:

 “a mind of huge imaginings,

so complex

Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf

wait in line at dusk for his office hours…” (p68)

See what I mean? Brilliant right? I don’t normally read poetry, and I detest nature poetry the most; I can get some lyrical descriptions of trees from any well-written novel thank you very much. But Crozier’s writing is different. I find it completely accessible, funny at times, and always interesting. Unlike other poetry I’ve read, hers almost always tell an absorbing story.

Reading on the wonderful German trains!

Reading on the wonderful German trains!

A frequent theme she touches upon in this collection seems to be aging couples, and the dynamics of their ever-changing relationships. In “The Question”, a woman asks her husband if he thinks the amount of love in a relationship is unbalanced; if one person always loves the other more. His inner turmoil is described, and then the poem ends with the woman sitting at her vanity smearing cold cream on her face. I loved this image because I could so easily imagine it as I read it: always the sign of a good writer!

 I’m still on my European tour, so I took a few weeks to read through this collection because I really did savour each poem. I’m sorry to be leaving my copy of The Wrong Cat in this hotel in Wolfsburg, but I’m hoping that some German, English-speaking person will pick it up and enjoy it just as much as I did.

Signature*I feel as though I should mention the fact that I may not be properly citing these quotations properly, so please forgive me any mistakes I’ve made here. But you’re going to go out and buy the book yourself though, so these quotes should only be giving you a taste of what’s to come anyway.

 

James Franco wrote a book! And he does other stuff too…

There are a few reasons why I love this video. The first is that it’s a featured clip from the Jimmy Fallon show, which is, as you all know, awesome. And, Jimmy obviously doesn’t have poets on his show on a very regular basis, so you can tell he’s a bit ‘out of his element’ trying to come up with speaking points to discuss with James. But the best part of this clip? It’s giving a POETRY book a feature on a highly sought-after time slot, and exposing many non-readers to the joy of writing and reading. Is it a bit snobbish to assume that people who watch late-night t.v. also don’t read? I’m not saying that assumption applies to everyone, but if you’re a hard core reader (i.e. one of the enlightened), you’re using that precious time to catch up on your latest novel, not staying up late to watch t.v.. So how am I even aware of the Jimmy Fallon show if I don’t actually stay up late to watch television? I watch clips of it on facebook, obviously.

Oh yah, James Franco is pretty cool too, but I have never looked at him the same way after Spring Breakers. If you’ve seen that movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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