From Rupi Kaur, the bestselling author of Milk and Honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. Illustrated by Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It is a celebration of love in all its forms.
It seems that the world had been eagerly awaiting the publication of Rupi Kaur’s the sun and her flowers in the wake of the New York Time’s bestselling success that was milk & honey (for which you can see the review of here). I thoroughly enjoyed Rupi’s first collection of poetry, finding the combination of simple yet powerful prose alongside equally simple yet powerful illustrations to be something unlike anything I had ever encountered before in poetry.
I wasn’t 100% sure of what I’d think of the sun and her flowers, if I’m really honest. I found that in the wake of milk & honey’s success, a lot of poets, particularly on platforms such as Instagram, were trying to emulate Rupi’s very distinct style. I find being inspired by a person is a wonderful thing; I myself tried my hand at micropoetry and found the challenge of trying to incorporate as much emotion into as few a words as possible to be refreshing. As a writer, it’s always good to experiment with different styles…but as I said, I found a lot of people were trying to emulate Rupi herself. This isn’t a criticism of these people in any way, but I think it’s so important to find your own voice and style too. Being inspired is great, but drawing on that inspiration to forge your own style is even better. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’ve read so much Rupi-esque poetry following my reading of milk & honey that I was half expecting to be sick of it by now.
But I wasn’t. the sun and her flowers is a thicker volume than milk & honey and it expands upon and adds to the hard-hitting themes explored within its predecessor. There’s themes of abuse, self-neglect, lost love, moving forward, racism, sexism…basically, it’s a collection in which everyone, regardless of their gender, age, sexuality or race, will find a poem or two with which they can relate. In particular, I found the poems regarding Rupi’s parents to be interesting albeit often painful. Their experiences of starting a new life in the USA are experiences that are still relevant today within the current climate, a climate in which immigrants are too often looked upon with scorn and suspicion. It makes for a powerful message.
As with milk & honey, I have no doubt that the sun and her flowers will draw its fair share of criticism. If I stop slurping my tea, I can almost hear the naysayers with their cries of “But it isn’t real poetry!”…but how do we define poetry? Poetry is about the creative expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas and I find it unfair to judge Rupi’s work against the likes of, as I saw in one review, Byron. They’re two completely different people living in vastly different ages. As with everything, poetry has changed vastly over time and while it’s fine to appreciate the works of long-dead poets, it’s also completely fine to appreciate the works of living, up and coming poets.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Song: David Guetta’s (feat. Sia) Titanium
This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format.