Milk and Honey (poetry collection)

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Milk and Honey
Milk and Honey (poetry collection).jpg
AuthorRupi Kaur
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing
Publication date
Pages226 pp (hardcover)

Milk and Honey (stylized as milk and honey) is a collection of poetry and prose by Rupi Kaur. The collection is about survival. It is divided into four chapters, with each chapter serving a different purpose. Violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity are prevalent themes.

Milk and Honey was published on November 4, 2014. This poetry collection was sold over 2.5 million times. It listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for more than 77 weeks. It has been translated into 25 languages.[1][2]

Kaur has a large following on social media.[3] Critics have called Kaur's work instapoetry; "instapoets" are poets who have risen to fame by using social media to leverage their work.


The book is divided into 4 themed chapters. The first chapter, "the hurting" is about the author's experience with sexual assault, abuse and struggles of family issues. According to one critic it was difficult to read and was compared to the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why.[4]

The next chapter, "the loving", has a more positive feeling. The poems have been described as sweet, and they are supposed to remind couples of the good things in a relationship.[4]

"The breaking" brings the reader back to a dark place in the author's life. These realistic poems relate to the sad feeling after a breakup.[4]

The last chapter, "the healing" tries to comfort and show women that they should embrace who they are and that they are valuable, no matter what they had to endure.[4]


This collection uses evocative and accessible language. Kaur jumps between first- and second-person pronouns. She breaks conventional rules of traditional poetry, as she chose to honor her mother tongue Punjabi. She writes with lower-case letters, creating grammar and punctuation 'mistakes'. Her style is direct, which enables the reader to develop a relationship with the author.[5]


Rupi Kaur's poetry was described as easy and simple. She is credited with changing people's views of poetry, because "she tells it how it is".[6]

The book received criticism over claims that Kaur's work plagiarized that of Nayyirah Waheed. Critics cited similarities between the two poets' writing style of short poems with jagged punctuation and line breaks, and for the same imagery.[7]

Milk and Honey received criticism regarding InstaPoetry, with Bustle stating that Kaur and the book have "by far born the brunt of these critiques. For every positive review of Kaur's work there is at least one scathing critique, ranging from actual engagement with her writing to cheap shots claiming she had "commodified her South Asian heritage".[8] She was described as a polarizing figure. John Maher of Publishers Weekly stated that while a 2015 survey reported a drop in poetry reading between 1992 and 2012, poetry sales figures doubled in 2017, two years after Kaur published Milk and Honey.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roy, Nilanjana (23 Feb 2018). "Voices of the new 'Instagram poets': Love them or hate them, thy hold the stage". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 Dec 2018.
  2. ^ Mzezewa, Tariro (5 Oct 2017). "Rupi Kaur Is Kicking Down the Doors of Publishing". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 Dec 2018.
  3. ^ Gross, Anisse (2016). "Andrews McMeel hits sweet spot with 'Milk and Honey'". Publishers Weekly. 263: 9pp – via Literature Resource Center.
  4. ^ a b c d Tiede, Jessica (April 2017). "Book Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur". Her Campus at University of Washington.
  5. ^ Singh, Simran (May 2018). "Review of Rupi Kaur's 'Milk and Honey'". owlcation.
  6. ^ Walker, Rob (May 27, 2017). "The young 'Instapoet' Rupi Kaur: from social media star to bestselling writer". The Guardian. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "Did Rupi Kaur plagiarize parts of 'Milk & Honey' from this Tumblr poet?". July 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Miller, E. CE (March 2018). "Are 'InstaPoets' Destroying The Art Form Or Reviving It? A Defense Of Social Media Poetry". Bustle. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Maher, John (February 2018). "Can Instagram Make Poems Sell Again? Internet-famous inspirational verse is selling big--and other poetry is seeing a bump too". Publishers Weekly. 265: 4–8 – via Literature Resource Center.