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.
Warning: 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
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.