The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

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Published October 3rd 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Author: Rupi Kaur
Format: Paperback
Genre: Poetry/feminism/non-fiction
Pages: 255
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening line:

“on the last day of love
my heart cracked inside my body”

Goodreads synopsis:

From Rupi Kaur, the top ten Sunday Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. Illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It is a celebration of love in all its forms.

My review

When I heard this book was coming out, I got excited. I read Milk and Honey and enjoyed this new form of poetry that she writes in. So my excitement for this collection was mostly because I wanted more of that kind of poetry, but from Rupi.

From the title, I guessed that the poems in the collection would be able nature, but also motherhood and combining the two to explore what it is to be a woman/a mother.

In fact, the book is about a lot of interwoven things, and although she has stuck with the form of splitting the book into chapters (wilting, falling, rooting, rising, blooming) I found that the themes within the chapters alternated and explored different subjects under the same chapter heading.

On reflection, her choice to use the overall theme of flowers and nature is a clever one and it works well for what she’s done, especially when you get right into the heart of the collection.

I struggled to get back into reading this shorter, snappier style of poetry. Some of them to begin with didn’t have much impact on me, and I was turning the pages not really feeling a great deal other than that I wish the form was different.

Then I started getting bothered by the lack of punctuation. This is only because I feel they needed little commas, little pauses just so I could get the flow of the poems and where lines ended and others began. Instead it all merged into one thing and I had to read some a few times to work out what it was saying. I know this form doesn’t necessarily always include punctuation or capital letters, but if it benefits the poem and how the reader understands it, then I think a well-placed comma can do wonders for the work on the page.

I also found myself thinking, ‘I know this is trying to tell me something and make a point, and it is presented to me as though it is meaningful, but I’m not getting that meaning.’

Part of the above thought was down to the alternative titles some of the poems have. Where the poem is given an afterthought, an attribution almost. These afterthoughts are supposed to put the whole poem in context, and hit hard with the extra meaning they add to the poem, but some of them just had me thinking about rolling my eyes. This might just be me, but I struggled with some of them early on. However, towards the end I just accepted them for what they are and the point they were trying to make.

It was the poems about love and relationships that I enjoyed the most. To begin with I didn’t like them, because I couldn’t imagine feeling that way, for example:

“i could be anything
in the world
but i  wanted to be his”

That’s great, I get it. But for me I would feel…I can be anything in the world, and I want to live and find all of my potentials with you by my side, as part of my life, so that we can be our anything’s in the world together.

I think Rupi’s poem just spoke to me as more of a woman giving up everything else because she just wants to be with this guy, and maybe it felt like that after a break up – I know sometimes I can’t thinking about anything else because I’d rather think about anything else knowing I have someone else too. But I felt this idea in the book just needed a bit more to it. BUT it got me thinking and that can only be a good thing.

My favourite section by far was ‘rising’. I connected with those poems more than the rest of them, and they kept my attention when reading and I wanted to share them. While reading, I had messaged my friend with a photo of a poem I connected with earlier on from towards the end of the first section:

“you ask
if we can still be friends
i explain how a honeybee
does not dream of kissing
the mouth of a flower
and then settle for its leaves

i don’t need more friends

She loved the poem, and I think from her reaction she hasn’t read Rupi Kaur before, so I sent her a few more examples and she loved those too, and by the time I got to ‘rising’ I was really enjoying the book and didn’t want it to end.

It’s a journey packed full of subjects and themes to get you thinking. There’s love, heartbreak, trauma, motherhood, feminism, politics, and of course the sun and her flowers.

Link to the book on Goodreads: The Sun and Her Flowers

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