According to a recent PEN America survey, Indo-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur's debut book, ‘Milk and Honey,’ which addresses problems of sexual assault and violence, was one of the banned books in US schools during the 2022-23 school year. The book ranks 9th on the 11 banned books.
Published in 2014, ‘Milk and Honey,’ is a collection of poetry and prose about trauma, love and femininity. With a total of 10 different bans, it tied with ‘The Bluest Eye’ by Toni Morrison on the list. “#1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival and the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.” the report says.
Kaur addressed the ban in an Instagram post, and highlighted that “a majority of banned books touch on themes of LGBTQ+ identities, race, gender, sexual assault, abortion, and American history.” She said she is “deeply” concerned that “there is a group of people hell-bent on taking away literature that students find refuge in.”
She noted how “many seek these books out because they’re going through those experiences themselves.” Noting how she found “comfort in the literature that reflects our experiences,” she lamented the book ban. “Now that books about sexual assault and other topics are being banned, I worry for students who rely on school libraries for access to literature.”
“This school year, instances of book bans are most prevalent in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina. These bans are driven by a confluence of local actors and state-level policy. The implications of bans in these five states are far-reaching, as policies and practices are modelled and replicated across the country” the key finding of the PEN report says.