The Rise of Instagram Poetry and Why People Love to Hate It
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s senior fall editorial intern Maggie Lardie. Find her on Instagram at @maggielardie. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social media has advanced our society in a variety of different ways, and Zillennials might just be the last generation to vividly remember what life was like before modern technology. Because of this, we’re also the last generation who can get an accurate sense of the effect of technological advancement. It’s easy to spot the evolution in more obvious cases (smartphones, navigation systems and social media,) but many of us fail to see the more subtle instances in which drastic changes are still very much happening. A huge example of this concept lies in literature – especially with what has been dubbed “Instapoetry”. This term was created to describe the short works that you’ve probably seen on someone’s Instagram story at one point or another. Authors like Rupi Kaur and Atticus are some of the most well-known authors of the genre, as their works have been shared millions of times throughout many different platforms. It’s clear that modern technology has made its literary effect, but whether this effect is positive or negative has yet to be determined. In the spirit of things, we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to unpack this argument. Keep reading to look at some of the pros and cons of “Instapoetry.”
Have you ever read a poem on Tiktok or Instagram and thought to yourself “I could write that.” If you have, you’re not alone! Up until recently, poetry was viewed by the general public as something you could only enjoy if you were educated or deep enough to understand a work’s full meaning. With the creation of “Instapoetry,” that belief has gone out the window. Basic elements like rhyme scheme, meter and verse have become less intrinsic to our definition of poetry today, having been pushed aside by short lines and raw emotion. (Classic poetic elements are very much still valued and used, they’re just no longer seen as the only things that matter in a poem.) Much like Instagram itself, “Instapoems” are formatted in a way that gives their readers a quick hit before they continue scrolling.
Poetry is now more accessible and relatable than ever, so it’s only natural that more people want to share their poems. CBC shared the story of self-published poet Harman Kaur, who was inspired by Rupi Kaur to pursue poetry. Harman reflected on how crucial it was that she felt represented in literature, and how seeing poet Rupi Kaur’s name on the spine of a book changed everything for her.
Although social media might be loving “Instapoems,” that definitely doesn’t mean everyone else is. Critics have gone above and beyond expressing their distaste for Instagram poems and poetry tiktoks. Many critics are worried about the intention of the poet – that is, whether or not the poet is actually there to share their work, not just to “appease an algorithm.” Other critics simply refer to Instagram poetry as “poetry for people who hate poetry” and some have even gone as far as to say that Instagram poetry is the death of all poetry. These critics believe that Instapoets are taking something away from more traditional poets by posting their work. I don’t believe this is the case. Like poet Sophie Diener said in her interview with the Zillennial, “art is subjective – not everyone is going to like you or what you do, and that’s okay.” Social media (and literature in general) is incredibly diverse, so if you don’t like a specific genre, you never have to see it again! People tend to stick with what they know and what they like. Traditional poetry and Instagram poetry both have their designated audiences, and if you ask me, a simple poem provides far more in contributions than it does damages.
How do you feel about Instagram poetry? Let us know in the comments!