Poetry Corner: Plath and Kaur

First of all, I would just like to say that I am not the biggest fan of poetry. I feel that I have to work hard to discover the meaning and inspiration behind each piece and, quite simply, I am just too lazy. However, as I gracefully approach 30, I felt I should dip my toe back into the poetic form and try, once again, to appreciate the depth and emotion that each poet presents on the page.

I went to my local library (always support your libraries, they’re invaluable) and picked up a Plath poetry book and one by Rupi Kaur called Milk and Honey that I have been dying to read for so long. Admittedly, Plath is not the easiest writer to start with, her intensity can be overwhelming, but I recently got a tattoo inspired by Plath’s The Bell Jar and thought that, seems as I connected with her so much in her book, her poetry would also inspire me.

For those who are interested, here is a picture of my Plath tattoo which was beautifully designed and tattooed by Holly Cull at Cullourz Tattoo Studio:

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The first book I read was Sylvia Plath: Poems Selected by Ted Hughes. Rating: 4*

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As I said before, I knew how intense Plath was but some of these poems were just gut-wrenching. I will admit that I really struggled at the beginning, looking for the meanings etc, but in the end I took some at face value and just appreciated the workings of Plath’s mind. This poetry book is an experience, you feel her inner turmoil and her emotions are just so intense. By far my most favourite poem was ‘A Birthday Present’, it started off so simply and, as the poem progressed, I realised that the present she wanted was death and I felt like a weight had been dropped onto me. This poem is the most memorable because I had such a strong reaction to it, it kicked me in the gut. If you haven’t read it yet, make it your mission to experience this poem.

The second book I read was Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Rating: 5*.

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This is quite simply my most favourite collection of poems. Rupi Kaur is brutally honest and portrays her poems in four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. Each section is so incredibly powerful and take you on a journey, it is her journey through life but it resonated so much to my life. One of the most beautiful poems in ‘the loving’ collection is where Rupi’s father explains to her about women and pregnancy:

‘when my mother was pregnant
with her second child i was four
i pointed at her swollen belly confused at how
my mother had gotten so big in such little time
my father scooped me in his tree trunk arms and
said the closest thing to god on earth
is a woman’s body it’s where life comes from
and to have a grown man tell me something
so powerful at such a young age
changed me to see the entire universe
rested at my mother’s feet’

This bowled me over; this poem is one of the most powerful I have ever read and it is something that every woman, man, girl and boy should read. It made me proud to be a woman.

Milk and Honey is truly enlightening. It unapologetically strips love, betrayal, heartache and healing down to its bare bones and its intensity is astounding, especially because most of the poems consist of only a few lines. I am going to purchase this book for my collection because I know that I will be going back to it time and time again. I am looking forward to Kaur’s next set of poems due out in October.

If you have any poetry recommendations, please leave them in the comments and I will take a look!

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