When I was a budding blogger, I first noticed a Rupi Kaur poem on my friend’s Tumblr Page. I thought to myself, ‘how could an arrangement of only a few words be considered a poem?’ It wasn’t until I was a high school senior that I learned it’s not the length of writing that determines its quality, but how well the writer can string words to impact their reader. Writing after all is an art that’s worth is subjective.
As a young professional I read snippets of Rupi’s poetry on her social media outlets and decided to purchase my own copy of Milk and Honey at a local bookstore. I was drawn to how Rupi was able to compose a powerful narrative exploring self-love, platonic and romantic relationships, as well as critique culture. Each poem Rupi does is accompanied with minimalist illustrations that complement the poem’s central message.
Milk and Honey has sold over half a million copies and is divided into four sections: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking and The Healing. The collection of poems is a New York Times #1 Bestseller and its success has set her up to publish two other Rupi Kaur poetry books in the years to come. Let’s not forget to mention that Rupi Kaur was only 23 when Milk and Honey was published.
The Hurting section explores the pain of a complicated father-daughter relationship, the taboo feelings associated with sexual abuse and hints to the feminist tones of a woman yearning for what is rightfully hers – her body and her relationships. It portrays the idea that the pain of those sexually abused and abandoned cannot be undermined by society.
The Loving section tells of the rawness of affection. In this chapter Rupi openly states that true love is selfless with a poem comparing love to that of a mother. Other poems in this chapter illustrate a yearning for romance, candidly touching on sexuality of relationships that accompany love. As a reader it seems this chapter hints at an innocence in craving romantic pursuits – but the next chapter, The Breaking, details how love for another will bring ounces of pain if unrequited. This chapter describes a journey of heart break, where the narrator through failed romances expresses the complicated emotions tied to moving on from commitments they’re heavily tied to. It also states how one becomes intertwined with their pain.
The last chapter, The Healing, serves as a perfect collection of poems that teach self-worth, the importance of solitude and inner beauty. I believe the last chapter serves as a personal reference, guide especially for millennials in our generation today. Today, we are fooled into thinking photo-shopped pictures of people are true reflections of beauty and our connections through social media only give rise to a generation comparing themselves to one another. Even if an individual is not going through relationship difficulties, this chapter serves as advice to remain authentic and grounded in your self-worth.
The success of Milk and Honey has joined the league of poets such as Lang Leav and R.M. Drake who also have a fan following with millennials. Indeed, Rupi’s poetry is successful because of how well millennials can connect with her work. It’s common for members of our generation to scroll down their Facebook and Instagram feed and see a friend or acquaintance repost one of her poems. I feel now more than ever that people are not afraid to express themselves through written medium, whether it’s through re-posting something they connect with or even writing their own. Several of my friends who are aspiring writers were inspired by Rupi to write poetry of their own. Perhaps you will be too!