the sun and her flowers: A Book Review

milk and honey came out in November 2014, so I’ve been waiting for Rupi Kaur to release a new book for the longest time. Since her newest book, the sun and her flowers, finally came out this month, I obviously had to order it, and I was super excited to read this one.

One thing I love about Rupi Kaur is that her poetry books are so aesthetically pleasing. Her covers are always minimalistic. The newest book has a different vibe than milk and honey; it has a picture of two pale yellow flowers against an off-white background, while milk and honey’s background was white outlines of insects against a black background. Like the previous book, the sun and her flowers contained simple and minimalist doodles to accompany the poems. On her website, she wrote that: “years of study in visual rhetoric and design lead [her] to fall in love with print and graphic art.” In an interview featured on Teen Vogue, Rupi said this about her book cover:

"I was going through a difficult breakup at the time, and I was thinking about the way sunflowers rotate with the sun. When the sun rises, they also rise, but when the sun leaves, they bow their heads. I thought that sort of worship at  the time was just so stunning and so beautiful and so then I thought, 'We are all our own suns and flowers are the experiences and the people we go through in our entire lifetime, so the sun and her flowers.'"

Her last book had four chapters: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. These four themes were what made it a popular and highly relatable book, and the sun and her flowers is no different with these five flower-related chapters: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. In these chapters, themes of “grief, self-abandonment, honoring one’s roots, love, and empowering oneself” are present (Kaur, 254).

While analyzing this book, I had to consider the popular question of what constitutes poetry. Does putting a simple statement in a poetry format label that strand of words as a poem? Or is it the poetic devices such as metaphors and similes that create a poem? Rupi Kaur, with her second book, is leaning more towards becoming a writer like Robert M. Drake and Tyler Knott Greggson. I have a very strong feeling about those two “poets.” Personally, I don’t consider them poets because they write simple and cliche statements that they like to call poetry. After reading this book, I feel as if Rupi is heading down that road as well. For example, on one page there was the poem that said only this: “never feel guilty for starting again” (Kaur, 160). That was the only poem that was on the page. There are some arguments that will say it is poetry, I don’t believe it is, and I’m hoping she doesn’t continue down this path.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many poems I read in this book that I strongly related to, and after I read them, I had to just stop and think for a minute about how amazing and intelligent it was that she thought to write about that in that way. Personally, my favorite chapter was the fourth one: rising. It was the one that I related to the most considering where I am in life right now. It’s hard for me to choose one poem out of the entire book that was my favorite, but one that stood out to me was this one: “i could be anything/ in the world/ but i wanted to be his” (Kaur, 26).

Overall, I still recommend this book for people who are looking to get into poetry or looking for something relatable. However, I don’t know if classical poetry fans would appreciate this as much.

 

HC,

Alyssa Harmon

 

Sources:

Kaur, Rupi. the sun and her flowers. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017.

https://rupikaur.com/faq/

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/rupi-kaur-the-sun-and-her-flowers-interview

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZhdCMKA8yL/?hl=en&taken-by=rupikaur_