The Case for Instapoetry

The Case for Instapoerty

Can you tell I’m a sucker for a good typewriter photo?

For Valentine’s Day this year, a well-intentioned special someone gifted me two books of poetry. They were not books I would have chosen to purchase for myself, because they fall into a category of what’s known as “Instapoetry.”

Described by Wikipedia as “a style of poetry that emerged as a result of social media. This type of poetry is written specifically for sharing, most commonly on Instagram,” it has become a contentious issue within artistic communities within the past couple of years.

The biggest debate seeming to come from the question of whether Instapoetry is destroying the genre or reviving it.

I finished both books within this past week, and I enjoyed reading them. Like any Instapoet’s work, the collections were quick and easy to read. There’s nothing wrong with chilling out a little bit. Not everything has to be the gosh-darn Iliad.

A brief look through the poetry hashtag on Instagram hosts a plethora of short, simple verses from various users. I won’t post any specific examples, but you probably have a concept in mind.

I’ve definitely poked fun at these poems before, even having a laugh with my own:

I rescued
 
two baby
 
raccoons
 
from the
 
bottom
 
of a trash can
 
& learned
 
the things
 
we love 
 
will also
 
take us
 
down.

By the way, that actually happened, but I digress.

Who am I to judge how people want to connect with writing? Or who gets to write what? Especially as someone whose own confessional poems have been described as being “unpoetic.”

The best things about being able to post poetry online is the democratization. Self-publishing has opened a whole realm to people who might not have ever gotten exposure before. And what if Insta is a gateway to poetry, a vehicle by which people can then access the classic or contemporary masters? And if this type of writing inspires another human to put pen to paper, then I have no reason to object.

I think we, as poets, should learn to sometimes take ourselves a little less seriously.

Heck, I’m still waiting on those grad school acceptances, and things aren’t looking too hot for me. Maybe I should start brainstorming my pen (Insta) name.


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