Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
*click on the link or image above to purchase your own copy!*
My Rating: ★★★★★
In light of National Poetry Day (October 6th, 2016), I made sure I was able to celebrate with a poetry book that touches heavily on survival; a poetry book that does not shy away from the topic of violence, abuse, love and loss. In Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur grabs you by the heart, sits you down, and takes you on a journey of both the bitter and beautiful things that we are faced with in life.
Prior to reading this book, I had already read a few poems from Kaur directly from her instagram page (@rupikaur_), and so I already had an idea of what to expect. To say the least, I’m glad I took it upon myself to read the entire book instead of being content from reading her work just from her instagram page. Having read Milk & Honey in its entirety really allowed me to fully experience Rupi Kaur’s beautiful writing.
“he was supposed to be
the first male love of your life
you still search for him everywhere.”
Above is an example of how very effective it is that Kaur has chosen to add the title of her poetry at the end of her poems. Doing it this way somehow makes the piece so much more stronger than it already is, and to me, it almost seems like a huge “plot twist.” It personally gives off that feeling to me, anyway.
“every time you
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
– to fathers with daughters
I have seen many different people say that Kaur’s work isn’t at all extraordinary or even worth the hype it deserves. I can see why they might say this. And, after all, we are all entitled to our own opinion and we are all going to have different taste in literature. While I can’t convince people to like something that did not touch them the way it had touched me, I do think that the very reason Kaur’s work is outstanding is because she takes what might be an everyday struggle or pain that we often overlook or ignore, and then brings all of those things to light.
With her words, Kaur has the ability (or power—I’d go this far to say this) to make you feel understood in your struggles—your “ordinary” struggles, and the pain and mistreatment that you might have been so used and desensitized to. I truly believe that in some ways, Kaur’s words might just have the potential to make those realize that the abuse they are going through is just that: abuse.
“the next time you
have your coffee black
you’ll taste the bitter
state he left you in
it will make you weep
but you’ll never
you’d rather have the darkest parts of him
than have nothing”
If you haven’t read Milk and Honey and you’re reading this review, you might start to think “wow, this collection of poetry seems very heavy and depressing” based on the pieces I’ve used above. Yes, you are right: this collection of poetry at all is not something you read once and then forget about after. A lot of what Kaur writes hits the ground running, and seems to continue going on a marathon even long after you’ve already put her book down. But what I can tell you, though, is that Milk and Honey also celebrates survival and life itself. It is empowering, it is encouraging, and it is beautiful beyond my capability to explain. With that being said, I will leave you guys with a few pieces from Milk and Honey that I found very empowering.
“don’t come here with expectations
and try to make a vacation out of me.”
“i would not be the empire i am today if you had stayed.”
“at the end of the day all this
where you’re sitting
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them”
Whatever it is that you’re going through and/or think you are alone in going through, I can guarantee there’s probably a poem in this book for you that you will end up holding near and dear to your heart. And who wouldn’t want that kind of company?