Did you know that “Milk and Honey” has been one of the 11 most banned books in the years 2022–2023? reason—because it discusses sexual assault. Hmm, a point here though: when sexual assaults by themselves are not condemned or actioned upon that strongly, it is a debatable question as to why the book is being banned as it discusses the issue candidly in a bid to make the opposite person feel safe, albeit having been done a little boldly and explicitly.
There is a reason “Milk and Honey” is regarded as one of the best poetry books in the world, peeps. Many a time, it is simply the frank revelation put forth by the writer that tends to grasp at your very soul, putting it both at ease and at a loss. Albeit, I wonder why such a candid, frank piece of writing, a musing, has been chosen to be banned in major schools and libraries, citing assaultive content. I mean, come on, when she chose to discuss and freely put forward her practical yet rational point of view, it was sure to set tongues wagging, and yet I was frankly surprised at it being banned for such long periods, especially the fact that of the 11 books banned for the longest period, 3 were Rupi Kaur’s. And being intrigued to a highly elevated level, I couldn’t resist and pored over a few of the discussions on this on my own.
That is how I decipher Rupi’s celebrated work, which has both in it: unsettled and jumpy sort of nerves as well as a cool, subtle sort of nudge as if a chasm of assurance were pouring splashes of cool emotions over fiery flames of angst and wrongdoings. Some unfiltered thoughts hence today on one of the best books of poetry I have read in my life-Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.
You know, one of the inspirations for me to write poems has been Rupi Kaur. Yea, I am serious; she has this strangely intoxicating way of keeping her readers bound to her words effortlessly, simply keeping them mesmerized with her stark clarity of thought as well as owing to her uncanny ability to be able to put forth ideas that are otherwise non-approachable, controversial ground of sorts.
I remember, a very few years ago (though it feels like just yesterday maybe), going through this back cover piece of the book and having missed a heartbeat or two perhaps. I was like, “Wow, here is a voice so damn unmasked, so unfiltered, and yet candid enough that I could pine in pain and smile in relief, all at the same instance. And yet, believe me, you guys, the feeling was awesome—that dual feeling where I actually experienced Rupi’s writings, her wanderings, and her trysts with life firsthand, being able to read these splays of wondrous pearls she chose to articulate and splash forth for us, to douse ourselves every day with a little bit of life and its frank offerings.
Peeping into this one, I soon discovered that this one definitely was not going to be the usual book of poetry, perhaps a collection of thoughts that is usually dished out regularly when the writer wants to dip his or her pen into pure pain and put it across in words for his readers to read and experience. No, Rupi proceeded much ahead, making us tread those rocky paths, putting ourselves in her shoes, making us feel that trepidation, the “hurting” as she calls it, the “longing”, the loving and healing. It is never an easy task to come forth and put your pain across so powerfully for another to read and not only partake of but also get inspired and empowered from it.
Yeah, that, for me, was one of the primary reasons for falling in love with this powerhouse’s writing. She did not share her pain with us; she candidly chose to share a part of herself, perhaps a fragment or two of her very soul, with us.
Like, for instance, a musing in her book that goes:
Yes, this is something so simple and yet so profound that I know it and yet pretend that I don’t. Indeed, being soft is one of the most difficult pursuits in life. To not be judgmental but to look at all with the same eye, unanimously, with a stark quality, is what is not so easy to pull off. That is what being soft is all about, isn’t it? See, exactly the point is being able to convey the strongest and most complex of thoughts in the most effortless and breezy manner.
Indeed, I also feel many times that writing is therapeutic in more ways than one. Apart from putting forward one’s innermost feelings, poetry especially has this uncanny ability to pour out one’s pain onto paper with startling clarity. The poetry, although symbolic of one’s pain, is also a mirror of sorts, picturing one’s doings and undoings, feelings, and many other wanderings one may have mused about or come across at different junctures in life.
So, I am not only saying here that Rupi has put a piece of herself between the pages. There is so much more attached here by way of sharing her thoughts that the pieces written almost feel like a revelation of a sort, a revolution by us for our very own selves.
Take, for instance, the way she has put in the following:
Yes, isn’t that how we humans are conditioned? We may be vulnerable at some point in time, and yet we choose to get over that and become so empowered, many times perhaps to the point where we turn onto the other side of the grass. Yes, donning that undesired villainy hat, don’t we also turn negative? So, true that.
What struck me most important was the fact that Rupi chose to share all of this unfiltered, in a manner so unabashed that it kind of left me a bit reeling, the way she has put all of this so candidly. Also, the format used, especially by her, is what has the whole of my heart. In one of the few rare depictions, here is a collection that follows no particular traditional style of poetry, especially when it comes to the writing technique. In what is now popularly known as “micro and modern” poetry, Milk and Honey is a great ensemble of a smattering of Rupi’s rendezvous with life and her vantage point towards it.
So, just one word to sum it up: a great, bold, candidly honest, and brilliant book of poems. Go for this one if you want to get your hands on some great modern micro poetry.
I hope you liked my thoughts on Banned from Shelves: Unveiling the Truth Behind the Milk and Honey Controversy.
And before I call it a day, a few more words from this super amazing book if you please:
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