Before we get started, just want to put out a quick disclaimer. This review is not coming from a poetry reader. Above what I have to study for uni, I usually avoid it like the plague. Rarely do I find myself interested enough in an anthology to go out, buy it and then read it from cover to cover. With all that in mind, the fact that I made it the whole way through Milk and Honey says a lot about this collection.
I wasn’t entirely sure what this anthology was going to entail when I started out. I knew it had a feminist association, but beyond that, I didn’t know anything about the actual content of the poems. This book deals with issues such as rape, abuse, broken heartedness and other aspects of the feminist agenda. At some points, I found the discussion a little awkward, but still, I appreciated the message of the anthology and so can’t put up too much of a fight.
I really enjoyed the presentation of this anthology, especially in terms of simplicity in illustrations and use of white space. Overall, this book was beautifully composed, which made it all the more enjoyable to read. Kaur was able to strike a wonderful balance between barren and busy allowing her to highlight, rather than detract from, the beauty of the text.
The collection is divided into three main sections, each one dealing with a different aspect of relationships. I flew through each of the sections, but my favourite one had to be the final installment (The Healing). This section was really empowering and I think would be a great read after a breakup – it has a very ‘you go girl’-like attitude.
However (we all knew there was going to be a ‘but’, it is me after all), I only ended up marking 3 poems throughout the entire anthology. In a collection of this size, I would have expected to tab at least triple that! Although none of the poems were expressly bad, many of them just didn’t speak to me deeply enough to warrant dog-earing a corner in my beautiful book. Poetry is a very personal thing, so a lot of this may just be put down to my own personal preference and state of mind, but it definitely didn’t pack as much of a punch as I would have liked.
Nevertheless, there were some really beautiful examples of imagery and symbolism dotted throughout this book. Some of which were really clear and thought-provoking. It was obvious that Kaur has laid herself bare in this collection, and, to a degree, I think this is where the true merit of the anthology lies. Even though I didn’t necessarily connect with her words, I can understand why this collection was so incredibly successful.
Overall, I gave this collection a 4/5 stars (in reality it’s a 3.75). It was an interesting, quick and touching read, which really made you feel like you were walking around inside Rupi’s head. I would definitely recommend this anthology to any feminist reader, or anyone who simply wants an empowering collection about women.
What did you guys think of this collection? Did you like the presentation, or did the poems fall flat? Let me know down below!