i had to leave
i was tired of
allowing you to
make me feel
― Rupi Kaur,
milk and honey
by Rupi Kaur
This book is a volume of poetry with illustrations on some of the pages. There are four different sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Each section has a set of black pages indicating the division, with the new section title written on the pages.
Some of the poems (like the one I quoted above) I thought were very good, and they resonated really well for me. Others… didn’t. I won’t say I thought they were bad, but they weren’t for me. And the way the book was laid out made it hard for me to focus on the poems that did resonate with me. There was a lot of white space on most of the pages. Like, a LOT. Some of the poems were two or three lines long, and the rest of the page was blank. So my eyes practically flew over the pages of this book, barely stopping long enough to register when I really liked one of the poems.
Most of the poems, I feel, weren’t written for me. I am not the intended audience for them. I am too much older than the author, and have already learned a lot of the things that are revelations in these poems. I also had a good relationship with my parents (I can’t tell if Kaur did or not) so that family dynamic wasn’t a source of conflict.
I have heard people say that she is the Millennials’ poet. I am not a Millennial, so maybe that is why the poems don’t resonate with me. It’s not the style of verse. This is not so far different from the style of some poetry I wrote when I was in high school. So–yeah. Free verse doesn’t bug me. Random line breaks and lack of capitalization don’t bug me.(Though, I have to say, her use of periods at random points really bugged me where line breaks do not. I tried to write this sentence for the review in the style I mean, but I just can’t.)
It’s the content that I can’t connect to for the most part.
It does seem (from the reviews I’ve read on Goodreads) that most people either love or hate this poetry compilation. I don’t fall into either camp, but perhaps that is because I can see merit in the act of publishing a book of poems. In some ways I view this the same way I used to view Harry Potter or even the Twilight series: it might not be the best literature out there, but at least people are reading again. If milk and honey (and Kaur’s second book, the sun and her flowers) get people reading and writing poetry again, it will have been worth it.
Rating: 3 stars