on the sacrifices
of a million women before me
what can I do
to make this mountain taller
so the women after me
can see farther” -legacy
The Sun and Her Flowers is Rupi Kaur’s second collection of poetry, following her 2014 debut hit, Milk and Honey. It’s written in the same modern style of poetry as her previous collection, a style that often comes under fire for being too simplistic. I’m not sure which side of the fence I’m on in this argument, as I do agree that most modern poets repeat the same clichéd sentences and write them off as literature. But who am I, and who is anyone else, to define poetry? Regardless, I think that some writers manage to pull of this style without coming off as banal. Rupi certainly falls into that category. She manages to say so much with so little, and she’s able to leave readers in awe. And that’s the point of art.
Her collection is broken up into five sections: Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising, and Blooming. While these sections add a metaphorical theme that connects them to the title of the book, I felt like the organization was a bit odd. It didn’t feel like the poems in each section necessarily went with one another or focused on a specific set of themes. They seemed thrown together by chance, and I felt like she could have done more to connect them back to the sections they were in.
I wasn’t a huge fan of “Wilting,” likely because most of the poems in the beginning deal with love and heartbreak. There were more than a few that felt corny, and I just couldn’t relate to the majority of them. I’m sure there are plenty of readers who can, but those poems just weren’t for me. As the collection continued, I found that the topics became more serious and relevant. I was pleasantly surprised by the issues Rupi covered, from her usual focus on self-care and feminism to current political issues, such as rape culture, immigration, and the refugee crisis. From the middle to the end of The Sun and Her Flowers, it felt like there was an urgent emphasis on bettering the state of the world, something I genuinely appreciated reading.
The poems about her relationship with her mother were heartfelt and touching as well, and they were some of my favorites from this book. Rupi has a gift for making readers feel the emotion behind the relationships she describes, and it really helps bring her words to life. If you can imagine the depths of another person’s relationship, just by reading a few sentences on a page, that’s solid writing.
The illustrations, as with Milk and Honey, were simple yet gorgeous. They complement the poems well, and they aren’t afraid to show even the most intimate or private aspects of humanity. I loved how the drawings never appeared to hold anything back.
I gave The Sun and Her Flowers 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I really enjoyed this collection, though I’m not sure whether I liked it as much as Milk and Honey. I’ll have to re-read her first book to find out. Either way, I’d recommend checking both of them out. You’ll breeze through them, and they’re well worth the read.
What did you guys think of this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!