Double review: Poetry edition

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson

Paperback

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Find it on Amazon

Published on 27 November 2018

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Paperback

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Find it on Amazon

Published on 4 November 2014

For some unknown reason, I never really read poetry, even though I’ve been a fan of Andrea Gibson’s work for years. One day it dawned on me that I did not actually own any of their books so I went onto Amazon and fixed that problem immediately. As I was ordering Lord of the Butterflies, Milk and Honey popped up as a suggested read and since I am easily influenced and needed to get my basket to £20 to qualify for free delivery, I thought go on then.

This was definitely money well spent because both of these books are incredible. If you are feeling a bit iffy about poetry, rest assured: this is modern poetry and it does not conform to the rigidness and vagueness of the kind of poetry that you may have been asked to read for school. This reads very easily, so easily that it takes the reader in instantly.

Andrea’s poetry covers topics such as depression and anxiety, politics, gender issues and so on. They question the state of affairs in America, all the while celebrating LGBTQ+ people.

Rupi’s poetry is similar in that it also covers serious topics: mainly abuse and trauma, but also love and healing. Rupi’s words cut deep, they are crude and will shake you to your core. You will feel the hurt and horror as if you were there. However the end of the book is more light-hearted as it focuses on forgiveness, healing and allowing oneself to be happy. Milk and Honey is truly inspiring in that it shows that no matter how much other people hurt and abuse you, there is always a silver lining. Humans are strong beings that can be reborn from the ashes, and if you just give yourself a little love and forgiveness, you can rebuild yourself and experience joy.

Andrea’s book also has this same message of hope, though it comes in the form of altruism. There is a certain poem in which Andrea relates one of their suicide attempts and tells how on their way to end their life they stumbled upon someone else about to take their own life and immediately felt that they had to stop them. In a powerful quote, they say:

Never in my life did I want more

to keep my blood blue, did I want more to live

than when I looked up and saw myself in someone else

trying to become the sky. I didn’t even know him

but I know it would have killed me to watch him die.

Both of these books promote self-love and forgiveness. They incite us to give ourselves some slack because yes, life is hard, so we need compassion towards ourselves and towards others. If we could all love a little more, the world would be an easier place to live in.

I am extremely lucky to have gotten tickets to Andrea Gibson’s show in Cardiff in May and I cannot wait for it! After years of following their work, I cannot believe I will finally get to see them perform live!