Book review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Pages: 204

Published by: Createspace

I honestly have zero excuse as to why I’ve never gotten around to reading this wonderful collection of poems from the talented Rupi Kaur.

Originally published in 2014, I am aware I’m incredibly late to the party when it comes to reviewing this – but I thought I’d do so anyway incase anyone is wondering whether to pick it up.

I’m a massive poetry lover, and whilst my taste in poetry is usually fantasy based (surprise, surprise!) or leaning more towards classics, I absolutely adored this book.

Not only are the poems super heartfelt, raw and inspiring, they’re also almost laughably simple in their construction. But, they’re definitely not simple in their messages.

The book is divided into four different chapters that cover different topics and are intended to ‘heal’ a different kind of pain. The chapters are: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, The Healing. I have to say I think my favourite was ‘The Breaking’ but all were fantastic, and the whole collection is a masterful nod towards the struggles of life and especially being a woman.

I thought the illustrations really leant a lot to the visions of the poems – and although they’re just as simple as the words themselves, Rupi Kaur paints such a vivid story and imagery with how she masterfully forms the poems and the accompanying images.

I especially enjoy how the book is also written in lowercase. You don’t see this in many collections, and it somehow made it softer to read, though I have no idea why.

“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”

The above is 100% my favourite poem from Milk and Honey. What a beautiful description of someone who refuses to be quelled. I am absolutely obsessed with this poem and the way the words fall so softly but yet have such a huge impact.

I’ve been reading a lot of other reviews on Milk and Honey, and many people don’t understand this collection at all. In my opinion, the randomness and sometimes almost haphazard nature of the poetry, and its rhythm serves only to make it more dynamic and interesting.

I can completely see why some people may not have connected with Milk and Honey, as in its nature it’s pretty derivative poetry – but I think that’s awesome as it allows you to form your own stories around the delicate but powerful words.

It covers some really important, complex and sometimes difficult topics from abuse to rape and of course feminism – which to me feels like the central thread throughout the collection. I find it so refreshing how unabashed and honest Rupi is about her own personal experiences, you can tell she literally is pouring her heart out on the page – which makes for very personal and intense reading.

I would agree that a lot of the content in this collection is more prose than poetry – with a lot of it consisting of very beautifully constructed lines of words that seem to have no rhythm or structure. However, I love how she takes us on the journey she’s lived.

I’m gutted I never picked this exquisite collection up sooner. I really identify with Rupi Kaur’s vision and style of poetry. I am definitely going to have to pick up her others works – she may even be a contender for my favourite modern poet.

Have you read Milk and Honey? If so, what did you think? I’d be really interested to hear, as this is a collection that is as widely loved as it seems to be misunderstood.

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