• Shanley McConnell

Review of Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur.

Updated: Jan 23, 2018



my heart woke me crying last night how can i help i begged my heart said write the book 

Write the book: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing "in the most honest way there is to split a soul open." Rupi Kaur is an artist captures borrowedbeauty, blindfaith, and bleedinghope, and we, me & you reader, wounded, deep-down-inside-worriedwondering if there will ever be a way to find acceptance, weary-of-perfection, us, reach towards 'Milk and Honey' in awe of its sincerity. It is a collection that combines vulnerability with strength.


An "Instapoet," Kaur emerged into the publishing world already a butterfly, selling more than half a million copies of immediate, and highly deserving, New York Bestseller. 'Milk and Honey'  reads with a refreshing sense of youthfulness, yet, the poignancy and emotional intensity of its content speaks to a maturity that surpasses age.


the hurting physicalizes the emptiness, the fear, the terror, and the panic of rape and alcoholism. In 'Milk and Honey', Kaur writes to the family, to the father and the mother who teach their daughter "to confuse / anger with kindness," sex and smalltalksilence with "making love." 


the hurting is painful to read, but it is powerful. a healing in and of itself.


In between the hurting, where "sadness [lives] in places sadness shouldn't live," Kaur include a short, smallsignificant, promise:

the rape will tear you in half but it will not end you

The first few poems include in the loving looks to the relationship between mother and child before comparing it to one of romance and risk. It is a passionate and pleading and full of identity-pullingbinding love.


the breaking takes the heart from wild to wrecked. In the collection, on page eighty-four, there is a poem that deserves to be read over and again. It starts with two, punching words:


you said.

The poem speaks "scream[s] and shout[s]," building intensity with honesty.


who taught you that / tell me. who convinced you

That to break-apart because-fate was a good-enough excuse not to break-up and bury my heart down under your bored-with-me-iresponsibility.


neither of us is happy but neither of us wants to leave so we keep breaking on another and calling it love

It is here in the breaking, in Kaur's brutalbrilliant vulnerability, that we know healing comes close and closer. 


we began in honesty let us end in it too

the healing is a conclusion that I cling to. In this fourth and final section, Kaur comforts her reader and calls them forward and into the pages of courage:


stay strong through your pain grow flowers from it bloom beautifully dangerously loudly bloom softly however you need just bloom

What is so encouraging about 'Milk and Honey'  is that it does not undermine pain. It dives so far deep into pain that winter has passed and the bulb is ready to bloom, to breakfree of the scars and soil to radiance and restoration shining down from above. There is a solace to be found in the pages of the healing. the role of readerwriter is juxtaposed. In the final poems, we look to the author and cry, everything hurts, and she holds us and whispers, but everything can heal.

'Milk and Honey' finishes with a humility that leads us right back to love, reallove. with white letters on black paper, Kaur opens her hurting, healing heart:


i am kneeling before you. saying thank you. i am sending my love to your eyes.

'Milk and Honey' is an intimate collection that encourages unity among daughters, mothers, sisters---women; however, Kaur's focus on self-acceptance and strength extends to all. 'Milk and Honey' roots its reader, and its author, in affirmation and in truth.


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