What’s up guys?! As internet people say.

Instagram and social media poetry is a big deal, with huge numbers of people following their favourite poets online! rupi kaur has over 4.3 million followers on instagram who read her posts everyday. 

Critics often say this genre if poetry is simple, overly commercialised, and cynically designed to exploit the short attention span of the zoomer generation. To these people Letter Review says, ‘Chill out. Sappho and Shakespeare aren’t going anywhere.’

If these poets are encouraging people to go out and buy collections of poetry … that can only be a good thing right? 

Reading, and the purchasing of books, is reportedly on the decline in most areas of publishing, except poetry!

There’s been a huge surge of interest, which many attribute to the social media poets!

rupi kaur’s collection ‘milk and honey’ took out the top spot in 2018, driving poetry sales to an all time high.

Here are some of the leading instapoets for you to check out!

rupi kaur 

In addition to her 4.3 million followers, rupi has published three collections of poetry, the first of which sold over 3 million copies. That’s like … one for each of her followers. Good conversion rate! 

She spent a year on the New York Times best seller list. She’s an Indian born Canadian poet: her family moved to avoid persecution. 

Instapoetry is often criticised for its lack of substance, but I don’t think anyone would deny instapoets tackle the big subjects. rupi tackles the immigrant experience extensively in her work.

She writes in lowercase, and often in bite sized chunks. Sometimes the poems are only one line!

Atticus (atticuspoetry) 

Another canadian instapoet who has 1.5 million followers on the gram. He’s a little bit secretive though, and likes to keep his identity under wraps.

He says that Hemingway is a huge influence, especially the way he can say so much with so few words.

He notes that one of the best things about writing for instagram is that it’s so experimental in nature. He can throw anything up there and see how it performs with his readers.

Presumably if it’s popular it gets more likes! Who knows though … maybe the readers are so overcome with profundity that they forget to mash that like button. 

He speaks about the value of instant feedback to a writer. It doesn’t take years and the publication of a book to realise that what you’re doing is a mistake.

Tyler Knott Gregson

This man produces a ‘Daily Haiku on Love’ and a poem from his ‘Typewriter series’ everyday.

The Typewriter series began when he found an old typewriter and just typed out a poem in a stream of consciousness style, all in one go. Now he tries to do it each and every day. Sounds easy, right? I wonder if it is …

He has his own podcast about living on the Autism Spectrum called ‘Somewhere On The Spectrum’. 

Gregson has found some success with the mainstream publishing world, with Penguin Random House publishing some of his work! So there’s a lesson for aspiring poets … self publication through instagram can lead to traditional publishing success!

He often couples his poems with a little passage of prose, like the one copied below:

A Me Fact: Without knowing how, or why, I drift away from time to time. Into myself, away from the world, into darkness within me that has been there as long as I can remember. It’s familiar there, warm, safe, melancholy, nostalgic, heavy, and thick. I don’t mean to, but I do, without warning, without cause. I am sorry for this, it’s always been this way, and all my art comes from that place, so I don’t know how to never go back, I don’t know I want to. Thank you for being the light that calls me back, that shines like lighthouse in deep fog, thank you for the signal. I’m coming home.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

If I float away,⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

into that familiar dark,⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

shine your light back home.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

Categories: Poetry

Ol Adams

Letter Review is currently edited by Ol Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Ol Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. Ol has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.