Poetry is not of the past

There has been a decade-long decline in poetry writing and reading. But the internet spiked a new sensation for poetry from 2012 to 2017, driven largely by young adults.

As social media platforms like Tumblr and Instagram grew more popular, girls and guys from age 16 to 25 began to write and post short pieces of poetry or prose to their accounts.

On Tumblr, it was mainly emo teens expressing their anger or attraction. Then Instagram became a creative outlet and flourished as a place to share photography, art and writing.

When the Instapoet emerged, a growing number of adolescents and young adults began to support poetry and share their own poetry. Rupi Kaur was one of the first to become famous for her Instagram poetry and have a collection of her poems published in physical book form. She followed Madisen Kuhn and so many others.

Instagram offered a place for aspiring poets to share their personal experiences worldwide and connect with others who had similar experiences.

While Insta Poetry is far from traditional poetry, such as Dickinson or Whitman or Poe, these poets have gained respect and recognition worldwide. Sometimes it is frustrating because now anyone can claim anything as “poetry.” While some of these poems are unintelligible and easy to mock, others are filled with emotion and have great depth.

The young poet writes on issues of love, anger, gender equality, mental health and politics, much like past poets. But their style and language is more simple and comprehensible for the present day reader. Some may say the simpler language takes away from the beauty of the poem.

Still, the simpler language can evoke just as much emotion and paint just as vivid a picture. In fact, it is possible that Insta Poetry readers may see, feel and taste these poems more than they would when reading Shakespeare or Milton because they can relate and understand the language more. Though the language from poems of the past is beautiful, it is often, sadly, foreign to us.

The Instapoets write in a conversational tone. When reading them, a person may feel as though they are having coffee with a friend and exchanging their thoughts and feelings.

There are few rules in Insta Poetry. The poems can be as structured or as free as one prefers. Being someone who has always had a personal disregard for rules, this free form of poetry is made for me.

Writing has always been a form of therapy for some people. Releasing emotions and thoughts by putting a pen to paper, or for some, fingers to a laptop, is comforting and liberating.

When shared, it can move millions. Instagram poetry is paving a way to encourage people to write and pursue the arts more, which is needed after its long absence.