Mary Newman looks at the rising trend of instapoetry.
If you’re looking for something more profound than selfies and holiday snaps to add to your feed, you’ll want to check out the world of Instagram poetry. #poetry has given birth to a whole new genre: think freeform, a general distaste for capitalisation and themes of love and heartbreak – this is poetry made for quoting.
Wondering why typewriters are selling for so much on eBay? Tyler is one of the instapoets you have to thank, or simply ask why. His freeform poetry as part of his Typewriter Series helped start the genre, and his printed collections keep the same vintage aesthetic and freeform style. He may have traded his hipster image for popularity, but there’s a reason his work is so well loved: beautiful and accessible poetry celebrating both love and loss. You’ve probably already read his poems (on purpose or by accident), and if you hadn’t then you really should. Start with Chasers of the Light before checking out his feed – because even as one of the originals of #poetry, it’s a little less poetry focused these days.
If you can get past his slightly pretentious bio, which has read “observer”, “lover” and “humanness” at various times, then Poindexter has a decent collection of classic instapoetry to dig into. Think the little black dresses of love poems, Hallmark greetings card stuff that the genre became famous for. His feed is a little less aesthetically pleasing, but there’s a lot more fan engagement and with nearly 300k followers, that’s a lot of engagement.
The celebrities’ favourite:
Shared by the likes of Karlie Kloss and Kim K, despite his fame, the mysterious Atticus is an Instagram-only artist. His work is direct, usually only a couple of lines, and great for profound tattoos. His work isn’t particularly diverse, think eternal teenage love, but his masterful use of the English language makes up for it. Even if he’s not your cup of tea, it’s interesting to follow the emergence of such a popular poet, and he’s a great introduction to both instapoetry and poetry, for those who worry about pretention. And there’s a lot of it to enjoy.
With several books published, Drake’s work will look as stylish on your bookshelf as it will on your feed. Again, think classic themes of love and loss in cute fonts and with no capital letters. While his work isn’t particularly distinctive, his 1.6m followers mean he’s the top dog of the instapoets. If you’re looking to read something edgy, Drake is not your man. But if you want to keep up with the cool kids on Instagram make sure to share his quotes, extra points if its inked on your ribs.
The genre changing:
If you don’t know Kaur from her highly successful first collection, milk and honey, then you probably know her from her period stained sweatpants, whose removal by Instagram caused worldwide outrage and were shared across various social media platforms in protest. From her photographic series period. the now reinstated photo represents Kaur’s general creative focus: the female condition. While generally harder-hitting than her fellow instapoets (themes of rape and violence towards women are not uncommon) Kaur’s work still remains highly shareable, and her quirky illustrations and photography give her feed a more artistically rounded feel. And with 663k followers and counting, clearly Instagram agrees.
While many “old-fashioned” poets may struggle their entire lives to get one piece published, Waheed already has two bestselling books and is constantly flooding her 182k followers with new and old work. On her feed, tougher themes like immigration interject the more traditional instapoet style – general love and loss stuff. While both her collections were self-published, her second (salt.) has overtaken its older sibling, though not in terms of personality. While salt. remains the epitome of the instapoetry canon, if you’re looking for a tougher, more personal read, go for nejma.
The new kid on the ‘gram:
Perhaps the least known of this bunch, with a measly 22k followers, Towne’s work is a little longer and a little more diverse in comparison with the other Instagram-only based poets. His feed is a little more organic (online notes, typewriter pieces and selfies all feature), without any of the clever aesthetic tricks of other poets. While he’s got a long way to catch up, his heavily romantic and quotable style means he’s already getting some attention online. Make sure to name drop while he’s still relatively unknown for full hipster points.
Featured Image: Tyler Knott Gregson