I think we owe Rupi Kaur a lot for making poetry accessible to mainstream readers, young readers in particular, with her debut collection, milk & honey. This collection took the world by storm when it was published in November 2014 and modern poetry collections are now popping up left, right and centre in the wake of her success.
This absolute explosion of creative output in the world of popular poetry, reminds me of the Twilight phenomenon that pushed the young adult genre onto many a reading list many years ago. Whether you love it or you hate it, you can’t deny that it encouraged a huge amount of teenagers to pick up reading again, a trend which seems to have stuck around.
Rupi Kaur’s milk & honey book is a collection of a new kind of poetry, the sort that is a mix between poetry and prose. The book is divided into four chapters and each chapter serves a different purpose in the healing process. Kaur’s collections deal with love, loss and femininity in a way that speaks to all who read her works. She takes her readers on a journey through the bitter moments in life including violence, abuse and loss. However, she also reveals the sweetness of life, offering hope for the future.
If you think you’re not a “poetry person”, these books could change that. Here are 5 books to read if you loved milk & honey by Rupi Kaur.
She’s only gone and done it again! I thought I’d start with the most obvious one. Obviously if you’re looking for poetry books similar to milk and honey then you should read Rupi Kaur’s other works. If you were a big fan of milk & honey then you’re going to love the sun and her flowers too. This book is divided into five chapters: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, blooming.
As always, I both wanted to devour every word of her poetry as quickly as possible but also savour each and every word of Rupi’s magic. She has this amazing way of putting feelings hidden in the depths of your very soul into words on paper.
Personally, I enjoyed the sun and her flowers even more than Rupi Kaur’s debut because it included more passages about family and immigration, which resonate a little more with me. This collection made me take a good look at myself and reconsider things that effect my every day relationships that had never crossed my mind before!
the princess saves herself in this one is the most similar to milk and honey as it draws on her work in terms of style, content and even cover art. It’s even published by the same people! Something to note though is that the target audience of this book seems to be considerably younger than that of Rupi Kaur, which does change the tone.
This collection is a little like marmite and people seem to either love or hate it. All in all, I think some sections are very poetic, others a bit style over substance. On balance, the princess saves herself in this one is still well worth a read if you’re interested in exploring modern poetry. It was named Goodreads Poetry Choice Award 2016 so clearly in the end its champions defeated its critics.
The Poetry Pharmacy stands out from the other four collections I’ve selected here because it’s the most “traditional” poetry collection. It’s made up of the most famous and well-respected poetry pieces, both old and new, each with the aim of curing a specific ailment. Whilst the others are deeply personal accounts that progress throughout the collection, this is a scattering of lots of different poet’s works. The reason that it’s like milk and honey is that reading this gives the impression that a warm hand has comes out of the page and taken yours. You start to feel understood.
As I said in my review, keep this on your bookshelf as you would keep paracetamol in your bathroom cupboard. You never know when you’re going to need it but when you do it’ll be right there waiting for you.
Depression & Other Magic Tricks is probably the most experimental collection of poetry out of these 5 options and you’ll find just as much spacebar poetry (i.e. one word per line) as you will prose. Interestingly, the poet, Benhaim, is a performance poet and this is reflected in this written collection. In fact, you can almost her reciting these out loud to you in you head.
This collection also gives a much more focused view of mental health, particularly from the female perspective. There were lots of moments in this book where I wanted to scream “YES!” because Benaim had perfectly articulated thoughts and feelings I have experienced. It’s centred in daily life so it’s very relatable and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this one again.
Love Her Wild is the first collection of “Instagram” poetry I have ever read and it did not disappoint. Atticus Poetry, who has over half a million followers on Instagram(!), blew me away with his words and accompanying photography. This almost works as a companion to Rupi Kaur’s milk & honey as this poetry collection is in the same sort of vein, but we see through the male gaze instead. This is well worth a read if you’re reaching for another book after finishing both of Rupi Kaur’s collections. If you only read one book on this list, make it this one.
So here’s my list of books similar to milk and honey! Do you have any more poetry collections to recommend?
Find out more about all 5 of these poetry collections below!
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