Rating: 3.5 of 5
Reading level: Easy
Reading time: Roughly 1.5-2 hours start to finish
Summary (taken from the final page of the book):
milk and honey is a
collection of poetry about
it is split into four chapters
each chapter serves a different purpose
deals with a different pain
heals a different heartache
milk and honey takes readers through
a journey of the most bitter moments in life
and finds sweetness in them
because there is sweetness everywhere
if your are just willing to look
-about the book”
This book contains mature content such as sex, rape, and abuse and is not suitable for all audiences. This review, however, is clean from any mature content due to being spoiler free.
As you can see, this book has an extreme lack of uppercase and general punctuation. No, I didn’t leave out punctuation in that summary. I typed it as exact to the book except for some italics (now in quotes). Rui Kaur, instead, uses line breaks to create pauses and separate clauses. As a result, her poetry still ebbs and flows naturally (unless your pet peeve is a lack of punctuation) and makes it feel as if you’re being told a story. And that’s how Milk and Honey should be read, as a story (in fact the book even says this is her journey so it’s meant to be read differently).
Kaur’s book is abstract art for writing but without the confusion. Abstract yet to the point, I would say. While each page itself may not stand completely on its own, the intertwining of each poem is what makes it strong. Kaur uses strong imagery and interesting juxtaposition in her stronger poems from which she ties the others together. Her contour drawings only weave her story tighter, adding interesting accents to her writing.
Contour drawings, drawings in which the pen never leaves the page, are not not meant to be perfect. They make a continuous line. In this continuity, you are to shape an object much like we are to shape our life as it hums along. This shaping echoes itself throughout the entire book of Milk and Honey as we see Kaur shape her journey into something positive to uplift (and grieve with) others.
Before you think this book is fully perfect, let me leave a disclaimer and point out some flaws.
If you are an avid reader of more structured poets like Keats, E. E. Cummings, Hughes, Mary Oliver, and the likes, this book may not be for you. There are poems (or sections/pages) that feel somewhat cliche. In fact, I was actually amazed how close certain poems were to those in Amanda Lovelace’s book The Princess Saves Herself in this One despite there being no connection besides common experiences.
This isn’t to say this book doesn’t have impact; it impacted me incredibly in less than 24 hours. It’s just writing of a very different nature, writing that can have great impact on some or can have some shaking their heads. If you have trouble reading regular poetry though, this book is for you!
Despite some cliche phrases and some seemingly less polished work, I once again iterate that it is all of them combined that make this book strong. Even if you don’t enjoy it, I think it’s a worthwhile experience. Then again, I always was the artist who embraced the abstract.
*all pictures belong to me, all poem belong to Rupi Kaur*