Hello and welcome to my third Feminist Friday post 🙂 March sees both International Women’s Day (which was last Sunday) and World Poetry Day (on the 21st). In light of these events I have selected Rupi Kaur’s collection of poetry ‘milk and honey’.
I first read Rupi’s work about a year and half ago and was immediately obsessed. My only other real engagement with poetry at this point was studying my GCSE English Literature anthology, on the theme of love. I thought that Shakespearean sonnets and the works of John Keats were what poetry was. I could not connect with this and thought that if you didn’t like this then you didn’t like poetry. Even more importantly I thought that if you didn’t understand this then you didn’t understand poetry.
Now I realise I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Poetry is as diverse as prose and, like all writers, poets each have their own individual style. The way prose follows certain conventions depending on its category, sci-fi, romance, literary, non-fiction etc. – so does poetry. There is no expectation for an individual to love all forms prose so why is poetry likened to marmite and presented as something you either love or hate?
Milk & Honey is a passionate expression of the experiences of emotion. Rupi writes her soul into her poetry and every word reverberates with her energy. Every word, every phrase, has been chosen for a reason. The structure, the tone, the images conjured with her words, all adding to this experience. An experience in writing but an experience in reading too. This is what poetry is and what poets do, create an image, an experience. Poetry is a real art as where prose uses hundreds of words to express emotions, feeling, scenarios – poetry uses only a handful. Every aspect is there for a reason: the wrods, structure, punctuation – everything. This is true of many different styles of poetry.
I think what really connected me to Rupi Kaur was her simplicity and her raw honesty. She has created beauty with her language – yet with so few words. She makes common language sing. She can conjure powerful experiences out of a couple of lines. This is what I admired and was able to connect with. Rupi also illustrates most of her poems in her own unique style – a kind of expressive line drawing. These too are beautiful and raw. Much of her subject matter can be interpreted as radical. She covers issues such as sexual assault and depression, however, I feel that these issues are handled with love and sensitivity and therefore powerful messages to send into the 21st century. The simplicity of her challenges offer both a wake up call and a shoulder to cry on.
Another aspect of poetry she introduced me to was the idea of performing live. The power of the spoken word. Rupi is an incredible performer and passionate about combining art, theatre and poetry to create original live performance pieces. Go check her out on youtube – she is stunning. She also self published ‘Milk & Honey’ and fought family prejudices to follow her heart and pursue an art she loved.
Always true to her heritage Rupi draws on many of her own experiences in her work and uses her poetry to interpret the world around her.
Now that Rupi has opened the door to poetry for me I find I am able to appreciate a much wider range of poetry and understand what the different styles have to offer. Yes, even including the likes of Shakespeare and John Keats (though I am still far from enamoured :P).
I thought I’d close by sharing a couple of her poems.
Thank you Rupi for giving us yourself and your words ❤
Meg Readz xx
If you enjoyed this Feminist Friday post for March then check out my blog ‘Meg Readz’ to catch up on January and February and don’t forget to hit follow so you don’t miss April’s choice!