Top critical review
More ‘Poetic’ Platitudes from the Celebrated Author of Milk and Honey
Reviewed in India on 21 April 2018
This book is recommended if you’re looking for voyeuristic solace (perhaps to help you come to terms with your own personal struggles of a similar nature as Kaur’s) in the journal-style doodles and ‘poetic’ montages of Rupi Kaur. As I struggled to get to the end of this tiring and banal book, the beautiful, minimalistic line-drawings felt more deserving of being called poetry, and the ‘poetry’ felt more deserving of being called illustrations. The poetry was occasionally, sparsely, and sporadically inspired in skill as for example in the poem “the construction site of our future” which had more formalistic coherence than perhaps any other poem of Kaur. But just as in Milk and Honey there is no poetic revolution here, or even any poetic novelty. As with Milk and Honey it is perhaps best suited for Insta-millenials looking for snippets to read which feel ‘relatable’ in a generic manner (an effect particularly achieved by using filler words rather than interesting, specific and idiosyncratic vocabulary), with none of the skill of versification but line breaks to justify the text as ‘verse’ or ‘poetry’. The short verses in particular don’t feel terse. They are not packed with any tension and have no epigrammatic or gut-punching effect. I admire the aesthetics and the honesty of the whole effort. But I would not recommend this to anyone looking to read intelligent, well-crafted or sublime verses.