Photo courtesy of amazon.com

On Oct. 3 of this year, acclaimed Canadian poet Rupi Kaur released her second book of poetry, titled “the sun and her flowers.” Her first poetry book “milk and honey” reached worldwide success, with 52 consecutive weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List, it sold over a million copies to date.

Kaur is famous for her minimalist style of poetry, utilizing lowercase phrasing and negative space to portray raw emotions that pack a poignant punch for the reader while saying very little. Kaur’s writing style is open and direct, yet relatable and universal. She pairs many of her pieces with her own illustrations, most drawn with a single black line. With the exception of the front and back cover (which are adorned with yellow and blue flowers, hence the title “the sun and her flowers”) the book is in black and white, similar to her first novel.

There are many comparisons to be made between the two books; both deal with issues of femininity and womanhood, heartbreak and loss, recovery and growth. “the sun and her flowers,” however, expands Kaur’s reach, touching upon issues of self-hate and self-love, consent and rape culture, community and immigrant issues and self-harm and acceptance.

One of the final poems of the collection explains the message of the book, saying,

“the sun and her flowers” is a
collection of poetry about
grief
self-abandonment
honoring one’s roots
love
and empowering oneself
it is split into five chapters
wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming.

The back of the book explains the message further, saying,this is the recipe of life

said my mother
as she held me in her arms as I wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom.

“the sun and her flowers” proves what Kaur’s fans have been saying since the release of her first book; Kaur is a talented poet. Her way with words helps her poems flow with ease while being read (either silently or aloud), and transport the reader through a roller coaster of emotions. From the lows of loneliness, numbness, longing, and loss, to the highs of joy, acceptance, love, and growth, Kaur hits each nail on the head.

One of her more moving poems in the collection touches on the nature of community and its contribution in a communal healing process, saying,

when the world comes crashing at your feet
it’s okay to let others
help pick up the pieces
if we’re present to take part in your happiness
when your circumstances are great
we are more than capable
of sharing your pain.

She also takes a stance on self-love and acceptance, despite struggling herself with the trauma of sexual assault and the woes of depression. She expresses her revelations relating to acceptance through a poem in the book which goes,

if I am the longest relationship
of my life
isn’t it time to
nurture intimacy
and love
with the person
I lie in bed with each night.

Kaur is also open with the reader about her battles with heartbreak, saying,

what is stronger
than the human heart
which shatters over and over
and still lives.

But she also focuses on the positives of falling in love, something she herself has experienced multiple times, sometimes ending badly. Yet her healing process has inspired many wonderful poems, many of which are captured in her newest collection.

Kaur opens her heart and soul to the reader in each poem, revealing her own strengths and weaknesses along her journey towards self-acceptance and positive growth. Progress is not linear, but the journey can be enlightening. If you’re a fan of poetry that will rip your heart out and piece it back together again, “the sun and her flowers” is for you.