Review: Milk And Honey

via @woodlandspirits
via @woodlandspirits
This was originally shared as an exclusive sneak peak in the first poetry issue of Mailbox Eulogies a week ago. To join, click here.

There’s no doubt that Ms. Kaur has overcome a lot in her years and her writing does pack a bit of a punch. But, I found that her style was a little shallow and distracting at times. Let me elaborate.

The first section was the worst, involving graphic details of being abused and molested by strangers and extended family members. This was triggering to the point that I needed to take actions to calm down before sleeping.

Further into the book, she discusses love and desire. She speaks in metaphors about masturbation, setting the world on fire with lust, using tongues to write poetry between the legs, etc. Even her line drawings were somewhat graphic in places, like fingers dripping with honey. But then when the f-word finally makes an appearance, she blocks it out with asterisks. I found that to be rather odd, but accepted it and moved on.

Her writing style doesn’t include capitalization, punctuation other than periods, or even strategic line breaks where pauses would be found naturally. A couple poems needed to be reread in order to learn the meaning. A couple pieces were somewhat complicated, requiring some time to decipher the meaning.

The rest were almost too simple. I often find that poems that can have more than one meaning, depending on how the reader interprets it, is more powerful that a shallow line that says only one thing with no other depth or nuance to it.

She tended to overuse metaphors, like setting something on fire with anger or passion, and it seemed like she included too many references to honey just for the sake of tying in with the title.

This book was good, but it wasn’t fantastic, and I wasn’t blown away by it, but considering her heritage as a Punjabi woman and that she’s set out on her own and made a life for herself is inspiring enough, especially if what she wrote was common for Punjabi families.

Bottom line is that her words were triggering, shallow, and often contradictory, but powerful enough to send a one-pointed message.

3.5/5 Stars

Have a poetry book you’d like to recommend? Drop it in the comments or send me an email via my about page.

© Sarah Doughty

20 thoughts on “Review: Milk And Honey”

      1. I’d take your suggestion, but for some weird reason I just know I wouldn’t finish/like this book so I’ll only read it if I get it borrow from someone. I won’t go looking for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh… I must have missed the mailbox going live in my absence… subscribed!
    Great review it sounds very interesting. I feel it might be hard to get into but it’s a life that deserves a voice and shed a light on a something I’ve never experienced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s one of those poets that can do micropoetry, which was why I wanted to give her book a try. But I was a little surprised at what I found. In one book, (when it wasn’t tied to the title in some way) she managed to overuse certain metaphors in contradictory ways, which to me, says she couldn’t quite figure out how else to describe the situation, which could mean she needs more practice with micropoetry. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people just naturally do better with long form. Especially in books, long form tends to resonate better with readers anyway, because you’re not competing with the short attention spans of people on social media or websites.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely not for everyone. The whole first section was difficult to swallow. It brought up too many memories. If you are interested in seeing a sampling of her pieces, you can easily look them up online and see if it’s even something you’d consider later on down the line.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree. I’m sure her book will serve others well, but your review has helped me know that I probably could not get through this either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you probably could, but you would probably have to take it in very small, controlled circumstances. And even then, you would probably need time in between to settle. Looking back, if I knew what I knew now, I might not have dived in so quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

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