Poetry Reviews: "Milk and Honey" and "The Princess Saves Herself in This One"

November 24, 2017

love is not cruel
we are cruel
love is not a game
we have made a game
out of love

I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this poetry collection, after shivering over so much of Rupi’s online poetry snippets over the years, but here we are, and it was… captivating? Painful? Beautiful? Perfect?

what i miss most is how you loved me. but what i didn’t know was how you loved me had so much to do with the person i was. it was a reflection of everything i gave to you.

how cruel i was to myself. giving you credit for my warmth simply because you had felt it.
I feel that this is a poetry collection that will be different things for different people, but for me, it was a love story written for those of us who have survived abusive relationships, who have moved on and learned to love ourselves despite the lies we were fed. If you’ve ever left a toxic relationship, friendship, situation, whatever – do you remember the first time you realized things weren’t your fault? How it felt like the first breath of air after far too long underwater? That’s what this collection felt like for me. It reminded me of how far I’ve come, and how strong I really am.

the next time he
points out the
hair on your legs is
growing back remind
that boy your body
is not his home
he is a guest
warn him to
never outstep
his welcome

Even better, this collection is so shamelessly, wholly feminist in nature and I cannot imagine not feeling empowered by the words Rupi writes. She is so proud of her womanhood and it’s a contagious feeling.

our backs
tell stories
no books have
the spine to

– women of color
Finally, this poetry is an ode to people of color everywhere, and the ways their beauty, their experiences, and their livelihoods should not – and can not – ever be taken away by prejudices of an ugly, bleak world.
Content warnings: abuse, sexual assault, depression, loneliness.

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once upon
a time,
the princess
rose from the ashes
her dragon lovers
made of her
queen of

Amanda Lovelace is another poet whose work I’ve admired from afar for a while thanks to the internet, but I’ve never actually read her work in collected form until now. Though this collection wasn’t published until 2016, I felt like it was an incredible throwback to the mid- and late 2000s, for what it’s worth. Does anyone else read Amanda’s writing and hear MCR in the background? Just me? Anyways.

if he was
my cup of tea,
then you are
my cup of
tea simply
for me
can get me

I expected the side of Princess that covered grief, heartbreak, abuse, and healing, but I didn’t expect the incredibly sweet love poetry that filled a substantial section of the book. I took it as a surprisingly profound view into the fact that, in her lows, Amanda’s writing is absolutely heartbreaking, but in her highs, her love soars. I related to this thought much more strongly than I’d like to discuss here today, but let me just say that I saw a lot of myself in many of the words in these poems, and I will certainly be looking forward to her next collection.
Content warnings: all of them. Seriously, this book comes with a page-long trigger warning sheet in the front, that ends with the same advice I would give you, too: “practice self-care before, during, & after reading”.

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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    1. I haaave to pick up the princess saves herself in this one, I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. I’m so glad you liked milk & honey, though!!

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