It’s official: we’re living in the “age of the Insta-poet.” The “Insta-poet” is defined as a young poet who publishes verse primarily on social media. With social media’s dominance in our ever-evolving digital world, it’s not surprising to hear that Instagram, alongside various other social media platforms, is contributing to the success of aspiring artists. While there are undoubtedly many pros and cons involving social media, it has granted individuals the opportunity to showcase their works and make intimate connections with global audiences. In fact, almost half (47 percent) of poetry books sold in the U.S. last year were written by Insta-poets and twelve of the top 20-bestselling poetry authors in 2017 were Insta-poets.
With over 2.5 million Instagram followers, twenty-five-year-old Rupi Kaur is the most notable and successful of these Insta-poets. She has achieved rare, mainstream success since the release of her 2016 debut poetry collection, milk and honey, which sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide, outselling all other poetry books in 2016 and 2017. Her poems are simple and personal, exploring themes of womanhood, racism, and self-love. Kaur is just one of the many Insta-poets who’ve received book deals through the promotion of their work across their social media profiles.
While some may feel that this new-wave style of contemporary poetry is breaking the mold of the traditional genre and lacks quality writing, others note that social media is allowing artists’ work to be more accessible than ever before. Social media is allowing these poets to share their work with the millennial audiences that value diversity and self-expression. Libraries and bookstores are now dedicating specific sections to “Instagram poetry.” Insta-poetry is drastically changing the landscape of the genre and it’s safe to say that it’s only going to continue to grow.
We’re featuring 19 Insta-poets you need to know right now.
1. Rupi Kaur
2. Nikita Gill
4. R.M Drake
5. Lang Leav
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10. Amanda Lovelace
13. Gareth Egan
14. Amanda Torroni
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16. Beau Taplin
18. Yrsa Daley-Ward
Regardless of one’s stance on the matter of social media-infused poetry, there is no denying that Instagram poetry is present and will only continue to grow as long as there is an audience welcoming it. Ultimately, if poetry is art and art is subjective, then who’s to say what’s considered poetry and what’s not?
(Featured Image via Unsplash.com)