Saturday, May 16, 2020
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur - Book Review
I hadn't heard of Rupi Kaur before but when I picked up The Sun and Her Flowers by chance, I discovered she's popular contemporary poet and author. I also learnt that this is her second – and apparently widely anticipated – poetry collection.
That said, when I started reading I felt that there was such a big hype about this book and that I was put off by it.
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur is divided into 5 chapters: Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising and, Blooming.
I felt that the poems, or rather short quotes first two sections were sappy. I was put off by them and was seriously considering NOT finishing the collection. However, the third section "Rooting" showed a significant change in both the content and level of writing, as if the author had suddenly grown up.
Most of the poems in The Sun and Her Flowers are untitled, a few have the sort-of-title at the end, and every now and then there is one long piece with a title. This makes it quite hard to point out which pieces I liked (which weren't that many).
"love does not look like a person
love is our actions
love is giving all we can
even if it's just the bigger slice of cake
love is understanding"
The above extract is from "what love looks like" one of the longer pieces in Kaur's collection. Another long one is "questions" which ironically has no question marks. It's also long, dull, and sappy, unlike its predecessor.
Another thing about punctuation is that The Sun and Her Flowers has zero punctuation. I know many poets are doing this with their poetry nowadays BUT the problem lies when as a reader I can't tell if the line I'm reading is meant as a thought or question. There were parts when I was utterly lost and only realized that I should have been reading questions not thoughts. The confusion irritated me.
"why are you so unkind to me
my body cries
cause you don't look like them
i tell her"
Many pieces aren't poetic or what I'd describe as poetry; more like quotes. You know those quotes people share on Instagram and Facebook. They're great, just not poetry in my opinion. I found some of the pieces to be recitable but not poetic, like "home" a long sad piece about a rape.
Starting "Rooting," many poems focus on the themes of maturity, womanhood, being an immigrant and a refugee. Starting this section, we see a major change and development from the previous sections; lots of growing up.
One of the strongest pieces in The Sun and Her Flowers is in "Rooting" and it's called "advice i would've given my mother on her wedding day." This piece is a mixture of short poem-like-pieces and 'bits' in the form of bullet points and advice. The first advice is "you're allowed to say no."
The poem "accent" is one of the stronger pieces in the collection. One of my favorites too.
There's a lot of experimentation in The Sun and Her Flowers. Some good, some not so much. But that's the normal case with poetry collections. You can't like every piece.
The saddest poem in The Sun and Her Flowers is "female infanticide," which shows women struggles in the course of hundreds of years. I loved the progression. Despite centuries passing, women are still struggling. 10 stars to this one.
Every few poems are accompanied by some artwork, I don't know what this type of art is called but it's not paintings. Also, some pieces are in short paragraphs.
One of the things I disliked about The Sun and Her Flowers, and I'm glad I had an e-book for this not a print one, is that some pieces were just a line. Yes, a page with one line and move on. That's wasted paper if you ask me. I suppose I don't view one-liners as poetry but at least they could have been combined in a single page with *** between each.
Another thing is the flow of the pieces; many aren't what you'd call poetic. They read like prose, including the poem "broken english." It's a great piece but it would have been better off placed in paragraph format than an attempted poem. It also had many words that felt like the Kaur was showing off vocabulary and was distant even though the poem is about her mother.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about Rupi Kaur's The Sun and Her Flowers. I was expecting a lot more from it. It's a good read, not amazing. There are powerful poems but there many weak ones. I think the "bestselling status" earned from the first book made many people pick this up.
The book's style reminded me of Amanda Lovelace's poetry collection The Princess Saves Herself in This One. The style being, the short pieces and the titles being the conclusion of the poem.
Overall rating for The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur: 2.5-3 stars.