#62 milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

23513349Rupi Kaur’s poetry arrives from a raw and deeply personal place. Kaur is young, still in her early 20’s, and her milk and honey poems flow with an eager and easy earnestness, an earnestness so achingly present at that age. Reaching for big feelings in a pared-down and approachable way, Kaur writes about early sexual abuse and trauma, intense young love, the pains of breaking up, and what it means to be a young woman today. She pairs her poems with simple line drawings, and the result is like reading a teenager’s intimate journal about sex and heartbreak and identity. There’s not a lot of depth here, but parts of my younger self could identified with the acute longing, the hunger for connection and for experience.

A good gift for a young woman heading off to college in the fall.

#28 Look by Solmaz Sharif

26114310.jpgLook was a birthday gift from my dear friend Anna, and like most books of poems, I’ve dipped in and out of it for months, savoring a poem here and there, letting the collection sink in over time.

The personal and political fuse in this strong and fiercely elegant book. In it, Sharif takes on war and terror, the effects of the violence on family, on the body, on the mind, on a people.

Sharif’s poems hold an electric, combustible power, the pages light up with the friction, a language of conflict; windmills straddle poems with bombers, fascism shares space with dinner party waltzes, strawberries mingle with grenade pins.

In an attempt to find the words, better words, to write about this collection, I opened to a random page, and was struck once again. This is what I read, from a poem called “Drone:”

: I say Hello NSA when I place a call

: somewhere a file details my sexual habits

: some tribunal may read it all back to me

: Golsorkhi, I know the cell they will put me in

: they put me onto a crooked pile of others to rot

: is this what happens to a brain born into war

: a city of broken teeth

: the thuds of falling

: we have learned to sing a child calm in a bomb shelter

: I am singing to her still

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