Book Review: Milk and Honey

I first discovered Rupi Kaur and her poetry through Instagram (#millennial). Her words and aesthetic stuck out to me and I found myself double tapping her posts pretty consistently.

While Rupi was gaining popularity via social media, she became headline news when she posted a photo series based on menstruation which Instagram then censored. Naturally this caused quite a bit of a controversy. I can understand how it made some people uncomfortable but I thought it was nice to see the stigma around periods challenged. But that’s another blog post for another day.

Shortly after, Rupi published her first book of poems titled Milk and Honey. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this might be the first book of poems I’ve read since I graduated college and studied English lit. So I was a bit nervous. Would I like it?

Rupi’s book is divided into four parts – the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. There is a bit of a trigger warning as Rupi discusses issues that are raw and intense like sexual assault.

I really liked the progression of the book. Rupi pours her heart out into her poems. It is really refreshing and inspiring to read something so vulnerable and best of all, to see yourself reflected in it as well.

My favorite section was the last one, of healing and of ultimately overcoming. The poems are empowering and bound to make you feel like you can do anything. It was the best thing to read after a rough day or while taking the bus into work in the morning.

As I mentioned it is so rare to see myself and the themes of my life reflected well.. anywhere, that it took some getting used to. This book was made for women like myself who don’t see accurate representations of their lives and their struggles in the media anywhere, so I loved that.

I definitely recommend Milk and Honey to anyone, but particularly young women of color. If you’re interested in feminism, gender roles, growing up in an immigrant household, then you will enjoy these poems. The poems are short (generally page long) and they are sometimes accompanied with all too apt illustrations.

Have you read Milk and Honey? What are your thoughts? If you have any recommendations of books similar, I’d love to hear!

A few of my favorite poems:

if you were born with

the weakness to fall

you were born with

the strength to rise

*

you tell me

i am not like most girls

and learn to kiss me with your eyes closed

something about the phrase – something about

how i have to unlike the women

i call sisters in order to be wanted

makes me want to spit your tongue out

like i am supposed to be proud you picked me

as if i should be relieved you think

i am better than them

*

our backs

tell stories

no books have

the spine to

carry

 

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