Review: The Sun and Her Flowers

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The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Published by Simon and Schuster on 3 October 2017
Pages: 255
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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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.

Hello, friends! Long time, no review. I was a bit burnt out by the end of 2017, and decided to take a much-needed break from blogging. Today is something a little bit different from what I usually read – some poetry! I really liked Kaur’s first collection of poetry, Milk and Honey, although in hindsight that had less to do with the writing itself and more to do with the topics the writing touched on. Much like Lang Leav, Kaur is the perfect poet for the digital age: she writes poetry that is Instagrammable, that wraps everything up in a neat line or two. Teenagers will most probably enjoy it – and I would definitely recommend it as a means of introducing a younger reader to poetry – much in the same way The Bell Jar has been held up as an emblem of teenage angst since the book’s publication. However, I don’t really feel that there’s any depth to Kaur’s poetry, nor do I think she really adds anything new or original to the genre in general.

“i even tried to bury myself alive
but the dirt recoiled
you have already rotted it said
there is nothing left for me to do
– self-hate”

Take this review with a pinch of salt: I know nothing about poetry (although I recently purchased a volume of Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems in an effort to fix that). When that time of year rolled around where we had poetry as a unit of study in English, I died a little on the inside. I felt like it took too long to get to the point and nobody seemed to agree on what a poem meant. I didn’t have that problem with Kaur’s poetry. Her poetry came across as one-dimensional. There was also no balance – the poems were either three pages long or three lines long, there was no in between. I realise that Kaur is an Instagram poet, but I wanted more depth to her poetry.

I feel like Kaur should’ve wowed me with this collection – it deals with immigration, mental health, self-care. These are big topics, but it feels like Kaur only scratches the surface of them. It’s almost as if she’s trying to create a body of work that speaks for a group of people, when it would’ve been better to write them from personal experience. I feel like she has no distinctive voice – her poetry reminds me a lot of Warsan Shire’s, another poet, except not as developed and well-executed. You don’t need to look very far on the Internet to find criticism of Kaur, who will list a number of poets whose style she has been accused of copying or outright plagiarism claims. A lot of the collection feel quite similar to the poems in Milk and Honey, and I would’ve liked to see Kaur expand upon the topics she covers. I really enjoyed the poems about Kaur’s family, particularly her mother.

Though simple and occasionally unoriginal, this is a decent volume of poetry, and I would recommend it to people looking to get into poetry.

★★★☆☆

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