I read rupi kaur’s first book of poetry milk and honey when it came out a few years ago, and I liked it. And although I don’t typically read or review poetry, I was willing to give her second book the sun and her flowers a go, simply because I remembered enjoying her debut work. Both collections seemed quite similar to me, but I thought her latest was a nice follow-up, and one I would recommend to those just getting into reading poetry. Or, for any girlfriends who may be going through a bad break-up; Kaur’s poetry is particularly soothing for those sorts of things:trust me.
This book is broken up into five different sections, mimicking the cycle of a flower’s life; wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. The first section details the demise of a relationship, the second is the aftermath of being alone and depressed after said break-up. The third section takes a bit of a turn and begins to deal with issues outside of the author, and more to do with her mother and the challenges of being an immigrant. The fourth and fifth sections alight on a new woman who has been lifted by a positive and healing relationship, and the desire to create a better world for women everywhere. Many poems are accompanied by line drawings from Kaur, some of them quite graphic, others simple yet difficult to understand.
Kaur’s poetry has been criticized for being too simplistic and whiny in the past, but she’s obviously doing something right because her books are bestsellers, which poetry rarely is. I’ll admit the poems are simple, there’s no mistaking what she’s talking about, but I think this is why she connects with so many people, and has millions of adoring fans (her instagram feed helps too!). One of my favourite poems in this collection is titled “advice I would’ve given my mother on her wedding day”, and the first line is:
- you are allowed to say no (p. 133)
Again, this seems so simplistic, but it is so powerful to acknowledge the limited choices women have had before us. Sometimes without even realizing it, our female elders are lifting us up on their shoulders, making it easier and easier for us to live the life we want due to their sacrifices. This sounds really wishy-washy, but seriously, talk to a woman one generation or two older than you, and you’ll thank your lucky stars you were born when you were. FOR REAL. Life without a washing machine? No thanks.
I’ve heard Kaur’s performances are quite powerful, they come off as a spoken word event more than just poetry, so she’s really putting in an effort, which again leads me to believe her success is very much deserved. If you’re still not sure you want to buy her book, go ahead and put yourself on the wait list for it at your local library, or check out her instagram page to get a small taste of it. You’re welcome!