Poet Rupi Kaur responded with disappointment to a report that her book of poetry “Milk and Honey” is one of the most banned books in the U.S. this year.
“over the past year or so, ‘milk and honey’ has been getting banned in school districts across America at an alarming rate,” the poet wrote on Instagram. “now @penamerica has found it’s in the list of 11 most banned books in the 2022-2023 year because it explores issues of sexual assault and violence.”
“Milk and Honey” was published in 2014, is a book of poems about trauma, love, and femininity. Multiple school districts in Missouri banned the book along with Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”.
In her post, Kaur noted that most of the banned books focus on LGBTQ identity, race, gender, sexual assault, and American history.
“it deeply concerns me that there is a group of people hell-bent on taking away literature that students find refuge in. Parents want to ban books to protect their kids,” she wrote. “many actually seek these books out because they’re going through those experiences themselves.”
Between sexual violence, mental health, and immigration, no subject is taboo for the 29-year-old. Her writing has earned her a devoted fan base of over 4 million Instagram followers.
Regardless of her fanbase, her candor is not well-received by all. When asked in an interview with ABC News Live Thursday what her reaction was to her book being challenged, Kaur said it left her speechless. “It breaks my heart,” she said.
The report from PEN America, a nonprofit free speech group, found that 848 individuals from July to December 2022 were affected by book bans. The organization expects the list to nearly double by the end of the 2022-2023 school year, NBC reports.
This is not the first time Kaur has addressed her book being banned. Two other states have made efforts to challenge the poet’s work.
“over the last few months parts of Texas and Oregon have banned or attempted to ban ‘milk and honey’ from schools and libraries. Why? Because it explores sexual assault and violence experienced by a young woman,” she wrote.
Kaur was born in northeast India and immigrated to Canada at four years old with her Sikh parents. Kaur writes about her experiences in the first person, without capitals, in a nod to her mother tongue, Punjabi.