9 Books Like 'Milk And Honey' To Read While You Wait For Rupi Kaur's Next Collection
Since November of 2014, when poet Rupi Kaur’s then-self-published debut poetry collection, Milk and Honey, was released for the very first time, readers have not stopped talking about her — and with Kaur’s blend of spare verse, line drawings, and social media-savvy, it’s no surprise. The 24-year-old Indian-born Canadian, who published Milk and Honey while still in college, has racked up 1.5 million followers on an Instagram account that prominently features her poetry alongside photographs, illustrations, and all kinds of feminist imagery. Spending 52 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, Milk and Honey was picked up by Andrews McMeel Publishing in 2015 — and has not stopped selling, ever since.
Kaur’s recently-announced newest title — The Sun and Her Flowers — will be making its way into readers’ TBR queues this October. But in the meantime, Kaur fans will need something else to satiate their Kaur-inspired poetic appetites, amirite? And I might have just the book — or, rather, just the books.
Whether you love Kaur for her social media accessibility, her poetic style, her writing that is equal parts soft and fiery, or the illustrations that accompany her words, there’s a title on this list for you. Check out these nine books to read if you loved Milk and Honey.
'The Princess Saves Herself in this One' by Amanda Lovelace
Similar in style — written in straightforward and uncomplicated verse, and content — grappling with themes of female power, love and loss, failure and redemption, pain and healing, poet Amanda Lovelace’s The Princess Saves Herself in this One is similar to Kaur’s Milk and Honey in another way as well: both books were self-published before going completely viral among reader. In TPSHITO… Lovelace tells a story of four different women: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and the reader, exploring a journey of self-empowerment that will speak to all readers.
'Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth' by Warsan Shire
Though the poetic style of these writers is markedly different, what you’ll find Warsan Shire’s poetry shares with Kaur’s is a raw and unflinching look at the diverse, dynamic experiences of being a woman in the world — sometimes violent, sometimes beautiful, often both. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth wrestles with ideas of home and displacement, immigrant and refugee stories, and speaks to experiences of trauma, politics, female strength, and perspective-altering journeys. Keep on keeping an eye on this writer.
'Broken Flowers' by Robert M. Drake
A poet that even the Kardashians are obsessed with (although, let’s not be so judgy… the Kardashians could read tons of poetry off-camera; we don’t know for sure) Robert M. Drake is similar to Kaur in a big way: both poets reach out to their readers first and foremost through Instagram, and it has definitely paid off. Broken Flowers is Drake’s fifth collection of poetry, telling a story of lost love in brief but striking verse.
'Pretty Tilt' by Carrie Murphy
Carrie Murphy is a poet who has got both hands wrapped around the pulse of 21st century girlhood — the beauty, the intensity, the utter messiness, the mystery, the sex, the awkward self-awareness, all of it. Pretty Tilt is Murphy’s second poetry collection and third book, written with an awareness of the way sex, feminism, and gender roles inform who girls grow up to be today.
'Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately' by Alicia Cook
Alicia Cook is another poet who has taken her work to Instagram. Her second poetry collection and third book, the self-published Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately, was written in the style of an old mix tape (OMG, miss those). Side A is all about life, love, death, hurt, endings, beginnings, family, relationships, and so much more. Side B takes readers on a different journey, utilizing blackout poetry to “remix” the work Cook complied on Side A. Pretty cool.
'The Universe of Us' by Lang Leav
Sharing a publisher with Kaur, The Universe of Us by Lang Leav is another collection that tackles the universal experiences of being a human in the world: loving desperately and losing deeply, feeling small within space, losing oneself and discovery — things all readers will be able to identify with, on some level.
'20' by Vatsal Surti
Written when the author was just 20-years-old, about the experience of being 20-years-old, Vatsal Surti’s 20 is a slim, poetic novel that definitely belongs on the same bookshelf as Milk and Honey. Surti begins with similar father/daughter hurts as does Kaur and proceeds — in spare, beautiful prose poetry — through a restless, consuming love between a young poet and a young fashion model, that is simply too good to last forever.
'Salt' by Nayyirah Waheed
Nayyirah Waheed is a poet whom Kaur herself has cited as an inspiration — a move not without its controversy. Nayyirah Waheed’s Salt will leave you in tears: alternating between images that are hard and soft, violent and gentle, light and dark. Her poems are short and precise, describing love, loss, identity, and femaleness.
'Things I Would Like To Do With You' by Waylon H. Lewis
Things I Would Like To Do With You by Waylon H. Lewis takes readers through the confessional prose poetry journey of a relationship that did not last — accompanying the writer as as he navigates what went wrong and what went right, through the framework of his hopes for the ultimate great love of his life. The one that will perhaps last that lifetime.