Milk and Honey

Milk and honey Rupi Kaur

“this is the journey of
surviving through poetry
this is the blood sweat tears
of twenty-one years
this is my heart
in your hands
this is
the hurting
the loving
the breaking
the healing”

OK, I’m not usually into poetry.

Listen, I would love to love poetry. I hear about people who gobble up pages of Pablo Neruda and tomes of T.S. Eliot just for fun, and I am positively emerald with envy. I simply don’t have the patience. I find it extremely difficult to settle in with a pile of poetry. Give me fiction, give me non-fiction, please please give me true crime. Try as I might, poetry is a wall I struggle to scale.

Recently, though, I’ve been trying to push my literary horizons. The current frontier: poetry. I’m now the proud owner of some Pablo Neruda, Milton Acorn, and Rupi Kaur. Of the three, I found Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey to be the most accessible piece of literature.

I feel like Rupi Kaur is making poetry cool again. I can’t think of any other poet who is so leveraging the powers of illustration and Instagram in their poetry. Her poems in Milk and Honey are potent. She takes the reader on a journey of growth, from hurting to healing. Not every one of her poems touched me, but when they did they devastated me.

“he guts her
with his fingers
like he’s scraping
the inside of a
cantaloupe clean”

“my heartbeat quickens at
the thought of birthing poems
which is why i will never stop
opening myself up to conceive them
the lovemaking
to the words
is so erotic
i am either in love
or in lust with
the writing
or both”

Milk and Honey Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur has been criticized for appearing to be “disingenuous” and for being uninspired. I’ve even heard her poetry criticized for being “too free form.” Now, I’m not in a position to weigh in on her sincerity. As for her being uninspired or free form, though: maybe we shouldn’t limit poetry to the structures and subjects that old white men deem “inspired.” Not all of us enjoy sonnets and ballads. In fact, some of us actively dislike sonnets and ballads. Her work is accessible, and it’s engaging a whole generation of poetry readers as a result. How is that a bad thing?

Whether you’re new to the world of poetry or not, do yourself a favour and pick up Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey.

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