The Princess Saves Herself in This One and Milk and Honey

I haven’t read any poetry in ages, probably not since my Emily Dickinson phase in high school, but I saw Milk and Honey at the new Amazon Bookstore in Southport Corridor and had to get it. Just one glance at the first few poems told me it was going to be great. After I finished it (in a couple of hours, it’s a quick read), I looked online for similar works and found The Princess Saves Herself in this One. The title had me hooked. There are too many stories where the princesses spend most of their time waiting for a knight to rescue them, so any work with such an intriguing feminist title has my vote.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Rating: 4.5 stars

The poems in Milk and Honey are gorgeous, and the illustrations perfectly add to your emotions when you read them. There were so many pages that looked incredible with such beautiful, and often tragic, sentiments that I briefly considered cutting out some pages and framing them on my wall (just briefly, I would’t actually do that to a book).

Below are some of my favorite poems, but almost of them were amazing. They touch upon feelings of loneliness, powerlessness, and later empowerment that I think everyone has experienced at some point in their lives.

“trying to convince myself
i am allowed to take up space
is like writing with
my left hand
when i was born
to use my right
-the idea of shrinking is hereditary”

“i had to leave
i was tired of
allowing you to
make me feel
anything less
than whole”

“you were a dragon long before
he came around and said
you could fly

you will remain a dragon
long after he’s left”

The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
Rating: 3.5 stars

While I loved several of the poems, I found a lot were hit or miss for me.  The ones where she describes her eating disorder and her grief at losing both her mother and sister before she was 19 are heartbreaking and beautiful. You could feel her despair and hopelessness through her simple lines and perfect work choice.  Anyone who has also experienced loss will see their own emotions reflected here and realize they aren’t alone.  Same with body image issues.  Its comforting to realize that you aren’t alone and someone gets it, that they can understand it and capture it perfectly.

However, about halfway through there were several poems about a significant other in her life and how they “poured the poetry back into” her.  I think that having a partner who supports you and lifts you up is amazing.  The poems about how incredible they made her life and how they gave her back her poetry, though, seemed at odds with the feminist theme behind the rest of the book.  It’s important to fight for your poetry back on your own.  It’s not something that a significant other should give to you, because that implies a power they have over you. The rest of the work was feminist though, and I feel like I am nitpicking with these particular poems.

Overall these books were great, and I recommend them to anyone interested in reading more contemporary poetry. These definitely have me on the lookout for similar works, and Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong is next on my poetry list.


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