Instagram poetry analysis
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Poetry has been around for thousands of years, but in this age it’s far harder to run into it daily unless you’re actively hunting for it. However, there was a trend for a few years of sharing picture posts of poems online, a format the internet calls “Instagram poetry.”
It was a sort of poetry renaissance—the internet bringing life back to the quieted poetic landscape. Despite this cultural revival, this art scene has settled down once again. To bring it back, one must ask: What made poetry so popular again in the first place? On top of that: Which poets were able to craft masterfully enough to garner the attention of the ever-changing internet for as long as they did?
“Instagram poetry” is a sort of mock-phrase thrown at poets who may use social media sites as a platform for their work, but also gain traction from it—enough to be republished onto other social accounts. This constant rush of posting modern (and popular) poetry onto personal accounts made it so anyone using websites such as Instagram would likely come across a poem or two while scrolling through their feed. It eventually became almost inescapable, depending on your following list.
The posts worked well on social media in a variety of ways. For one, they conjure a certain aesthetic thanks to their minimal word, relatable-to-millennials, white background, 12-point serif font style. This type of post has existed for decades now (the earliest I remember it myself is from good ol’ Tumblr) and honestly, I don’t think it will ever really fade. It will always find its way back, whether it be in the form of song lyrics, TV show quotes, poetry, or anything else; this type of post has its grip on this generation.
The last few years have brought many—now famous—poets to light. One of these happens to be a personal favourite of mine, Rupi Kaur. I have read two of her published poetry books, milk and honey and the sun and her flowers. I’ve found that not only is she a beautiful example of the foolproof aesthetic post style, she is also an extremely talented writer. I marvel at the strength of her words—so few, yet they capture feelings I may never have been able to express through words on my own. I find solace in the similar experiences we both share, whether it be struggles of love, family, self, or even sharing the same Punjabi-Canadian nationality. Of course, I am not alone in this appreciation of Kaur, seeing as she has a dedicated following of millions.
There is no definite answer as to why it seems as though poetry has become less popular on the internet once again. Possibly the attention has moved towards memes, a different art form, or perhaps the internet is simply doing what it does best: Changing. Genre popularity comes and goes in a circle, much like how trends recycle themselves in the offline world. While the poetry craze was wonderful, it will come back. Until then, we can all read poetry on our own accord anyway—we just have to hunt harder for it.