If you’ve been on the internet for any amount of time, you must have heard of Rupi Kaur. This young woman came to fame through her instagram account, where she posts short poems on an assortment of topics. She also released her first collection, Milk and Honey, which I reviewed on this blog. I recently picked up a copy of her newest collection, The Sun and Her Flowers, and thought I’d review it alongside discussing some of the controversy around her writing.
Review: The Sun and Her Flowers
The Sun and Her Flowers was not as enjoyable as Milk and Honey. I found it repetitive after reading Milk and Honey. Many of the themes were the same, such as feminism and self-love, sexual assault and romantic relationships. The main differences were the metaphors (which focused on flowers and growth), the addition of long-form poetry and some poems scattered in the last section about the immigrant experience.
Today's read: The Sun and Her Flowers. I didn't enjoy it as I enjoyed Milk and Honey, but a full review will hopefully be coming if things aren't *too* busy this week. Have you read it? What did you think? #thesunandherflowers #tshf #rupikaur #bookstagram #books #reading #poetry #booklover #bookworm #book #reader #reads #exclusivebooks
Overall, I did enjoy reading The Sun and Her Flowers. I loved the simple-but-effective drawing style that Kaur has perfected. Some poems were particularly good and I found the long poems more enjoyable than the shorter, fragmented poems. I liked that the collection, as a whole, was longer than Milk and Honey and that there was more variety in the five sections. It flowed well and I thought the metaphors were effective rather than contrived.
The Rupi Kaur Controversy
A few months ago, this controversial article appeared on Buzzfeed and was spread widely. Not long after, twitted began to mock Rupi Kaur’s style of poetry by typing random sentences and hitting enter in equally random places then ending it off with her signature “- rupi kaur”. While I found it hilarious although I enjoy her poetry, it revealed one of the major flaws in her work. Many of her poems are simple rather than creatively simplistic. Compared to other women who have a similar style of poetry, like Nayyirah Waheed and Warsan Shire, her poetry doesn’t meet the same level of depth.
In addition, she is not immune to accusation of plagiarism and stealing from black women. In particular, Nayyirah Waheed released a statement accusing Kaur of plagiarising her work. When I first read Milk and Honey, I wasn’t aware of the accusations though I did notice several similarities to Waheed’s work.
However, when I read The Sun and Her Flowers, the lack of originality in some places was astounding. This may be one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Milk and Honey. This goodreads review sums up most of the unoriginal poems in the collection and why they were so disappointing.
There is also this misconception that, if something is popular, it must be poor quality. I absolutely despise that sort of elitism. Instapoets are one of the reasons poetry is experiencing a resurgence. I believe that there is a lot of value in work that can reach a large audience, especially when that audience is mostly made up of women. Rupi Kaur’s themes are powerful and do have a good message, so I like to support her work for those reasons.
To sum it up
I enjoyed The Sun and Her Flowers overall, but it wasn’t as original as I hoped. Rupi Kaur is no stranger to controversy, but her poems are universally enjoyed. I’d recommend The Sun and Her Flowers if you’re a Rupi Kaur fan or if you’d like to read some poetry about self-acceptance and growth.
You can purchase *The Sun and Her Flowers or Milk and Honey through the Book Depository if you’re interested in reading either of them!
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