To create means to be prepared for both applauses and critics and as long as I’m concerned, Rupi Kaur has own history of both. She’s an artist with a distinctive voice and with milk and honey she only affirmed her position of a popular poet with self-reflection provoking work.
milk and honey tackles important topics of our relationships and ourselves. It is accompanied by author’s illustrations I loved – subtle, simple in style, not disturbing. milk and honey is an ode to womanhood, to our emotional vulnerability. It creates a dialogue with reader about some of the most basic human experiences: traumas, love, need for support and healing. The book itself is divided into four parts called ‘the hurting’, ‘the loving’, ‘the breaking’ and ‘the healing’.
Obviously, the themes of milk and honey are calls for attention. Sure, football is important, sure, some celebrity’s affairs are important, sure.. Wait, what?! Somehow, somewhere along the way, we have forgotten how to speak with people, so we speak at them. Our culture rather deals with artificially created forms of entertainment, leaving valuable relationships often behind, creating accumulated feelings we do know how to fight.
I don’t dare to say most, but at least many poems in milk and honey are glowing with own experience. How comforting is to know that we are not alone in our troubles, hurts and emotional resurrections. And where there is no one understanding, to read our feelings articulated by someone else is simply healing. In such cases, I don’t think we should look down at the form itself much. Maybe this is the way how to approach younger generations with poetry. Gone are days when sonnets and ballads were the only appropriate form of poetry, storytelling. Some people love it, others aren’t capable to appreciate such ‘Tumblr poetry’. However, I think there is something very important; something, what many people fail to acknowledge: that various literature serves different purposes, people. If we want poetry not only to survive, but to continue thriving, we should be open to its forms; be it spoken word, or free verse.
On a personal note, I find unbelievable how many poems resonated with my own experience. Reading milk and honey meant to stop reading from time to time – to digest emotions, to go through memories and think all of this has shaped the person I am now. Sometimes it was painful, sometimes rather uplifting, but ultimately it was a sign of a book which won’t be sitting on the shelf all dusty and untouched for years – it will be the one being picked up occasionally to remind me all those feels.