The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Just like Milk and Honey, The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur had some truly inspired moments. Such simple things, a few new and a few well known, are transformed by the structure of her poetry and the illustrations that accompany them. This book's theme is growth, with five parts: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, blooming. If you've been in love, if you've been abused, if you've been uprooted from your life or your ancestry, if you've begun to heal, you will find something in this book of poems.
There are also some incredibly powerful statements and images about feminism and race that appear here, including a Clinton reference to 'nasty woman'. There is pride. We, women, are not men's hobby. We, Southeast Asian girls, are gold that should not have been cast aside through history for the richness of a firstborn boy. I should not hide what's between my legs. It is not a door for you to walk through. It is not a reason to see weakness.
There were beautiful odes to Kaur's mother, and to the dislocation of refugees or foreigners who are either forced to leave their homes or who give up their own dreams for their children. I particularly loved this direct testament:
However, I had some mixed feelings about some of her work. She first reminds her readers that they are whole even without a man, but, later, expresses the sentiment of life on pause when the partner is away (long distance). And, on which I was most irked, and it was difficult not to start the post with this mystery, is that, more so than when I read Milk and Honey, I could not stop thinking of the work of poet Nayyirah Waheed, particularly from her book salt. Salt. was a treasure I came across last year, though it had come up in a book club a few times the year before. It is not readily available at most bookstores, but it is an incredible book of poetry, that takes a frighteningly similar shape as poems of Kaur's (which were published after Waheed's work).
One quick search of 'Kaur and Waheed' confirmed my thoughts. Kaur has been accused of plagiarizing Waheed. And, even though Kaur lists Waheed as one of her main sources of inspiration, when Waheed came out publicly asking for some kind of response to these accusations, Kaur saiad nothing. This disappoints me. While Kaur has certainly injected herself into the prose, the genesis of much of this work resembles Waheed. In a book about the sun and her flowers, I somewhat feel the seed - Waheed's inspriration - has been ignored.