Why I Refuse to Read “Milk and Honey”

BY SAM TURNBULL                                                       

ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR

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Before anyone yells at me about how I don’t appreciate the book’s content, let me clarify one thing: I am very aware that Milk and Honey covers some extremely sensitive subjects. These include but are not limited to: heartbreak, mental illness, and overall trials and tribulations in life. But, the contents of the book are not the reasons I refuse to read it.

Since its publication in 2014, it has taken over the Internet. The format which the “poems” are in suggests that Rupi Kaur knows a thing or two about enjambment. False. For those of you who are not familiar with this term; enjambment is the purposeful breaking of lines for emphasis. Verses are cut off at unusual points to create a better flow, emphasize continuity, or give the reader a better impression of the mood or message behind the poem. Milk and Honey is a poor excuse for this literary technique. From the poems that have popped up on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and especially Tumblr feeds, Kaur has merely hit the enter key every so often to make her work look like poetry. The addition of simple but messy doodles on some of the pages adds to her overall goal of being aesthetically pleasing.

In this book, nothing deeper than what is on the page. Sure, it’s sad or cute or whatever, but there’s nothing more. It’s general and relatable. Poetry is supposed to make the reader think and look further, but Milk and Honey shows nothing past what’s already there. For what this book contains, I would rather see it in regular prose (paragraph form). This would bring all the attention to the contents rather than the look. Perhaps people would even appreciate it more as a story, rather than a picture to post.

As aggressive as I’m being about Milk and Honey, it’s all for good reason. I would much rather pick up a book that has been written to be a book, not to gain popularity because it’s pretty. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone’s so obsessed with it, maybe it’s the fact that I’m a die-hard Wordsworth fan, either way I’ll continue to leave Milk and Honey on the shelf. So, if you really want my two-cents, save yourself the $25.

Yours passive aggressively,

Sam Turnbull