Milk and Honey


You may or may not have heard of Rupi Kaur. I discovered her through Instagram a while back and have since been hooked. Kaur is a Canadian contemporary feminist poet and writer. Her first collection of poems have recently been publishes in an anthology titled ‘Milk and Honey‘. I feel the softness of the title is the perfect allusion to the book’s contents. Kaur’s writing is honest, pain filled, heart filled and strikes a true chord with the reader. There is something within the book that everyone can relate to. Whether it is love, break ups, childhood, loss; Kaur touches on most core themes which signify what it means to be human.

I have not been this taken by poetry since I discovered W.B. Yeats five years ago. Yes, her work is unconventional and does not hold the kind of poetry structure I was taught about in school. There is no punctuation, no capitals, she does not use stanzas and there is often no distinct rhythm. Yet I think this is why I am so fascinated by it. Although it does not conform to poetry traditions, the visuals it conjures are beautiful. The raw quality of the writing does not need these formal restrictions. Instead, the words proudly conduct themselves and you cannot help but be drawn in. You can almost hear a tongue whispering these poems quietly to you, feel the pain pour out of the pages, feel the momentum of the emotions spilling out. Not only are the words strong and honest, but the visuals are striking. It is beautiful how through even the most simple use of language, Kaur is able to create a lyrical scenario within your imagination. The text is accompanied by simple line drawings, devoid of colour or much detail. These are absolutely delightful and their simplicity almost amplifies the strength of her writing.


I had been following her work for a while, but the other day when I was in WHSmith buying a book for my boyfriend, I saw ‘Milk and Honey‘. I was paying at the counter and there it was sat alongside the usual counter clutter. I knew instantly I finally had to buy a hard copy so that I could enjoy her work in my bed and on the move. Below are some excerpts I have picked out from her book:

the next time you
have your coffee black
you’ll taste the bitter
state he left you in
it will make you weep
but you’ll never
stop drinking
you’d rather have the darkest parts of him
than have nothing

i’d be lying if I said
you make me speechless
the truth is you make my
tongue so weak it forgets
what language it speaks

i like the way the stretch marks
on my thighs look human and
that we’re so soft yet
rough and jungle wild
when we need to be
i love that about us
how we are capable of feeling
how unafraid we are of breaking
and tend to our wounds with grace
just being a woman
calling myself
a woman
makes me utterly whole
and complete

i didn’t leave because
i stopped loving you
i left because the longer
i stayed the less
i loved myself

the very thought of you
has my legs spread apart
like an easel with a canvas
begging for art


Images sourced from:

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