About “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

Anyone who knows my writing and me, knows that I started out writing poetry, albeit mediocre poetry, but poetry nonetheless. Of course, when you hear such rave reviews about a book, one of two things happens: you have to see what all the hype is or you dismiss it with the rest of the noise coming from the masses. I chose to do both. I knew I was going to buy this book, I just waited forever to do it.
Kaur’s debut collection is a back and forth between sexuality, abuse, femininity, love, heartbreak, and more wrapped up in almost 200 poems. While still in college, she self-published this collection and it made its way onto the NYT bestseller list for 52 straight weeks. Not many 24 year-old poets can say they have done that.
Kaur dives head first into these heavy topics and rather than using metaphor or any allusions, she prefers simple terms and in your face phrasing. It often times read as a spoken word poem, that isn’t to say that spoken word does not use literary devices. Rather, Kaur’s poetry is more upfront with its message. She prefers to get her message out as quick as possible and move on, then come back to it.
This book of 207 pages is a very quick read. I finished it in about 45 minutes. The idea that this book of poems can be read so quickly, for some even quicker, is because the majority of the poems are 3 lines or less. I find this form of poetry is best left to Twitter and Instagram posts. That being said, her poetry is accessible to those who would not normally connect with it. I think it is that simplicity and raw writing that has garnered her the popularity that she has.
I found myself reading and thinking to myself “damn, that was a good line” or wondering why she decided to add in so much of her “Twitter poetry” in the book. It was this form of short free verse that had me cringing half the time while reading this book. The short length of some of these poems made some of them come off as cliché or even the drunk Ramblings of heartbroken thumbs at 3AM. Do not get me wrong, overall I did in fact enjoy this book and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fresh voice in the poetry scene, but it was not my favorite.

I would like to know your opinions on this collection. Did you like her simplistic writing? How did the “Twitter Poetry”make you feel? Lets have a conversation down in the comments.

The book:

The Author: https://rupikaur.com/

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6 thoughts on “About “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

  1. I’m with you, sometimes I was cringing, but I was enjoying cringing. its car crash poetry, and I think thats why it’s so appealing. The relatable nature and the simplistic form makes it widely accessible, but does it make it valuable?

    • That I guess is the appeal, because it is so accessible everyone can enjoy it. That being said, I think there is a pro and con situation to it all in terms of “valuable” and that is that a poet of color has gone viral and that type of representation is is needed, but at the same time the high amount of praise this has got also comes with the high amount of criticism. Since reading it, I have seen that people are compressing an entire people or culture into a single representation. This is something we do not expect of our white authors, but it is something society does with POC writers. This is but a single representation of Kaur’s experiences and not a representation of her people or culture as a whole. I, for the most part, enjoyed it. I was expecting a bit more from it, considering I read almost nothing about it critique-wise.

      • I suppose in this situation, our criticism should be turned to the reader. Their expectations and interpretations of Rupi Kaur based on her skin colour is ridiculous. I hate this notion that a piece of art created by a white person is called art, but for Art created by a POC it is a manifesto. It devalues the purpose of the creation and indeed the artist. When I read “milk and honey” I wasn’t looking to understand a culture, I was looking to understand her, and maybe myself a little better. (I know thats cheesy)

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