In the past, I had always viewed poetry as something that is simply hard to understand and only for studying in class so, despite always enjoying English, I’ve never really enjoyed poetry. That was until I read Milk and Honey.
Milk and Honey is a poetry collection by Indian born Canadian poet Rupi Kaur. It is divided into four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. Each four feel vastly different but are all honest and raw in emotion. The themes included in this collection are femininity, abuse, love and loss.
The thing that stands out the most to me is how wise Kaur’s words are. She speaks so honestly about heartbreak and pain as if she has experienced lots of lifetimes yet she is only 23 (21 when she wrote Milk and Honey). To hear so much raw emotion and wisdom from someone so young is very inspiring.
Rupi Kaur concentrates on body image and female sexuality a lot in the collection – something I have not seen in poetry before. She gives very inspiring advice for all women, young and old, to follow, such as learning to love yourself for who you are and not judging other women by their appearance.
The language is very easy to read and understand. Although the individual poems vary in length, most are very short. There are very beautiful illustrations throughout the book and reflect particular messages from the poems but in a more visual form. No illustrator has been named in the book so I am assuming they were drawn by Kaur herself which furthers adds to the rawness of the poetry as we can see visually her thoughts and feelings towards the topics she discusses. I could have very easily consumed this book in a few hours but I tried to savour it a bit. I tried to avoid reading the different sections together so I had gaps between each one to think about what I had read. This helped me identify the varying emotions and messages in each section. If you try to do this I will warn you that it is difficult. Once you pick up this book, you won’t want to put it down until it is finished.
I really enjoyed reading Milk and Honey and I hope to go back to the four sections at various times in my life when I need Kaur’s words of wisdom. I also hope this will not be the last poetry collection I read for pleasure. I am now on the lookout for more modern feminist poetry – especially from other diverse poets – so if you have anything to recommend for me please let me know in the comments.