Book Review: “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur

Cover of "Home Body" by Rupi Kaur.
Cover of “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing the poetry collection “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur!

I’ve read some of Kaur’s past work before, and I had mixed reviews. However, I am interested in reading one of her more recent works, and so I picked up this collection to read. Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

Rupi Kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself – reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. Illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here.

i dive into the well of my body
and end up in another world
everything i need
already exists in me
there’s no need
to look anywhere else
– home”

Content Warning:

This collection contains sexually explicit descriptions throughout many of its poems. It also describes sexual and domestic abuse, as well as racism, anxiety, and some suicidal thoughts. If you are uncomfortable with any of this content, you may want to skip reading this one.

Overall Thoughts:

I felt like I read three poetry collections within one book. There were many themes that Kaur wrote about in her poems. This ranged from abusive relationships to sexually explicit content. For those familiar with Kaur’s previous works, such as “The Sun And Her Flowers” and “Milk And Honey,” the collection overall follows those themes.

Unfortunately, many of the poems felt very generic. Despite what the summary describing this collection says, I don’t think Kaur’s writing has grown much since her previous collections. Many of the poems are barely poems. These “poems” would be better labelled as aphorisms, witty sayings, or interesting quotes. This collection would make more sense if marketed as either of those three options. However, calling them poetry is a bit of a reach considering how short they are and how they make little use of imagery. If they do, it’s often for the collection’s sexually explicit poems.

There was only one poem I liked called “productivity anxiety,” and it’s one of Kaur’s few long poems. It’s still a free-verse poem like the rest of the poems, but this is one of the few poems in the collection, if not the only one, that had any depth to it.

Unlike the past two collections, Kaur does give titles to some of her poems. This does help some of her poems have a bit more meaning to them overall, which was nice. However, many of these poems were extremely short (to be fair, about ninety-nine percent of the poems were extremely short). I understand that not all poems have to be several stanzas long. In fact, there are specific forms of short poetry that are deliberately only a few lines and have specific syllable lengths (like the haiku, for example, or the landay). However, because all of Kaur’s poetry is free-verse, this makes it a lot harder to not ask for some more depth than just a few lines she gives per poem.

Had Kaur separated this collection into smaller, themed chapbooks (for example, put all of the sexually explicit poetry in one collection, and all the poems discussing abuse and/or relationships into another separate chapbook), I think the chapbooks would be more cohesive. If Kaur implemented this, there would be two or three specific-themed chapbooks that would feel more cohesive. I know that variety is a great way to make a poetry collection interesting to read, but too much variety can make the collection feel aimless. That aimlessness is what I felt with reading “Home Body.”

Overall, I’m rating this collection 1 out of 5 stars!

This collection was, overall, underwhelming. It also felt like a redo of her first two collections I would not recommend this collection to those who already read Kaur’s previous works (especially if you did not enjoy reading those first two collections).

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