Maybe I shouldn’t have read Kaur’s first last. It’s not like it was an intentional choice, though. We already had her second book, having bought it forever ago, and her third book was the only other one I saw popping up at the Targets we frequent. For Milk and Honey, I had to travel 45 minutes to pick it up from a different Target that actually had it, after visiting another Target in that same city that was supposed to have it and didn’t.
Could I have had it delivered to me? Technically, yes, but there was a $35 minimum for shipping, even with my Red Card, I didn’t really need anything else at the time, and mostly I was annoyed at the fact that I needed to buy more just to get it shipped to me. A 30 minute longer than usual drive seemed like a reasonable enough solution to this silly problem.
Once I got it, I read it in one sitting as soon as I arrived home. Like her other poetry collections, there’s a rawness to it, and she touches beautifully on topics big and small, ranging from more innocent things like love all the way to more brief mentions of when she was molested as a child. But she’s not as vivid with her descriptions of the event itself as she was in her third collection, so it shouldn’t be quite as triggering to those who’ve experienced similar traumas. Still, it’s there and I feel I should warn you.
Back to the writing itself, it doesn’t feel to me like it has the same polish as her other two collections. This definitely does seem to be Kaur finding her way and her voice. There remains plenty to love, but having seen the skyscraper-high highs of the other two collections, Milk and Honey was somewhat of a letdown. I advise that you, unlike me, read her three collections in order of release if you haven’t read anything from her before. There’s, I think, a clear progression from one to the other. With The Sun and Her Flowers, there’s a new level of polish. And with Home Body, she stops limiting herself primarily to a couple subjects and lets her poetry speak on anything and everything.
But, with all of them, her words will weasel their way under your skin regardless. She’s arguably the most beloved poet of today for very good reason.